BANGKOK, 7 August 2018: Thailand’s tourist arrivals reached 19.481 million during the first six months of 2018, recording an increase of 12.46%.
The top three supply markets were China, Malaysia and South Korea, but official warned that the Chinese tour boat accident in July that claimed 48 lives could result in a loss of 619,000 trips by the close of the year.
For the first six months, China supplied 5,931,000 tourist visits to Thailand up 25.88%.
Last year, Chinese arrivals fell just short of 10 million and even with the downward revision this year’s total could still surpass 10 million, possibly just within reach of the 11 million mark.
However, the Association of Thai Travel Agents said its data indicated agents could lose 20 to 30% of their Chinese tour bookings, while suggesting recovery could set in by October. If there is strong recovery in the China market in the last quarter Thailand could still close the year ahead of its overall target and reach more than 38 million visits from all markets.
Estimates by the Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports suggested July closed with a growth rate of just 4% well below the average growth during the first six months of the year.
It blamed the lower growth rate on a contraction in bookings from China and Europe, although officials expressed confidence that by October advance bookings for the peak season would probably indicate moderate recovery in the two markets.
Bookings from Europe are usually down in July and August as they are peak holiday months. There were other factors this year such as Russia hosting the World Cup, extremely hot weather across Europe even as far north as Norway and Finland as well as a slowdown in economic growth and spending power.
Overall, Thailand earned THB1,015,893 million in revenue, an increase of 15.88% January to June, when compared with the same period last year.
Officials projected that tourist revenue for 2018, would close at around THB 2 trillion from foreign travellers and THB 1 trillion from domestic travellers.