Thailand’s growth rate dips
BANGKOK, 22 March 2012: Ministry of Tourism and Sports Wednesday released its travel statistics showing trips to Thailand improved by a marginal 2% in February compared to the same month last year.
The slow growth pulled the accumulated performance down to 4.83% from 7.65% in January.
In February, there were 1,838,595 international trips recorded through all airport and border checkpoints.
The ministry said declines from China (-2.82%, 178,006), Hong Kong (-33.92%, 25,858) and Taiwan (-28.19%, 29,508) were due to travel warnings during Chinese New Year in January, that had a spillover effect on February’s performance.
A more credible reason is that in 2011 Chinese New Year, a bumper week for travel, was celebrated in early February.
In January, the US Embassy in Bangkok issued a travel alert on Bangkok and that prompted similar alerts from 20 other nations.
Besides China, two other large suppliers recorded declines in February. They were Malaysia, the top contributor (-14.02%, 187,223) and Russia, the fourth largest (-4.71%, 118,436).
Arrivals from the Americas and Oceania grew, 14.62% (97,201) and 15.8% (71,675) respectively. European markets for the beginning of the year were also positive showing increases, except Russia, resulting in a growth of 5.22% (629,360).
Considering the two-month period, moderate increases were recorded except for South Asia (-1.04%) and the Middle East (-5.81%). East Asia’s arrivals were up 3% (1,790,179); Europe, +6.71% (1,336,254); the Americas, +12.23 (208,195); Oceania, +16.07% (163,953) and Africa, +1.48% (20,465).
In February, Suvanabhumi Airport welcomed 1,186,837 tourists (+3.54%) followed Phuket Airport, 230,397 (-0.77%); Sadao Checkpoint on the Thai-Malaysian border in Songkhla province, 103,474 (-17.1%); the First Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge checkpoint in Nong Khai province, 78,783 (+26.77%) and Aranyaprathet checkpoint on the Thai-Cambodian border in Srakaew province, 41,894 (-7.06%).
As for Thai outbound travel, the Immigration Bureau tallied 533,297 in February, representing an increase of 3.74%. Of which, 225,442 travelled through Suvanabhumi Airport followed by Aranyaprathet checkpoint, 111,801; Sadao checkpoint, 38,502; the First Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge checkpoint, 29,029 and Sungai Kolok on Thai-Malaysian border in Narathiwat, 23,736.
The data was collected by the Immigration Bureau from all checkpoints –air, land and sea and is preliminary data subject to review.