A 67% surge in arrivals from China helped Thailand record an overall growth of 6.14% in visitors in October, the first month of positive growth this year.
The total of 2,180,601 arrivals in October included 501,043 visitors from China, a market share of 23%. The upturn raised the total number of arrivals in January-October to 19,736,600.
An analysis by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports said that the main reason for the growth in Chinese arrivals was the exemption of visa fees approved by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) specifically for the August-November period.
The visa-fee waiver was designed as a short-term tactical measure to take advantage of a Chinese long-holiday period in October. It also applied to visitors from Taiwan. To expedite facilitation of the visa-on-arrival for Chinese tourists at Suvarnabhumi Airport during the three-month period, there were three specially assigned “Chinese Lanes” and five “Premium Lanes”. Chinese-speaking translators were also stationed at several areas throughout the Airport.
Other highlights of visitor arrivals in October 2014, with comparative figures over October 2013:
- Malaysia was the second biggest source market with arrivals of 262,803, up by 11.05%.
- Singapore recorded arrivals of 79,564, up by 4.92%.
- Arrivals from some of the neighbouring ASEAN countries showed good growth, e.g., Myanmar (+48.65%), Cambodia (+16.40%), the Philippines (+4.60%), and Brunei (+0.99%).
- Arrivals from Israel were up 78.7% to 14,475, also due to a long holiday in that country.
- India, the biggest source of visitors in South Asia, 9.14% to 87,990.
- Bangladesh showed a growth of 12.87% to 10,330.
- Visitors from Sri Lanka grew by 0.93% to 7,378.
For 2014, TAT has set a target of 25.5 million visitors and foreign exchange earnings of 1.20 trillion Baht.