BANGKOK, 6 February 2017: Association of Thai Travel Agents reports a decline of 11.53% in tourism-related trips handled by its travel agency members in January logged at both Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports.
ATTA reported the association’s member companies handled 433,996 travellers at the country’s two main gateways in the first month of the year compared to 490,544 visits during the same month last year.
The data, released, late last week, is based on fees member agencies pay to the two airports to provide a meet-and-greet service for international clients, but limited to travel only to Bangkok.
There is no count of ATTA agency traffic through Phuket’s airport, which is now the largest source of airline arrivals after Bangkok. Also, there is no ATTA data for Samui airport, which is dominated by Bangkok Airways.
Despite being the richest travel trade association in Thailand with a membership base of more than 1,000 companies, ATTA has not responded to requests by members to widen the scope of its airport data.
Commenting on the January performance, the association’s president, Charoen Wangananont, said the association expects 6 million visits with Asia and ASEAN, this year, bringing in the big numbers.
“This year we hope to achieve 6 million trips handled by members… that was what we set for 2016, but we fell short of the target with 5.37 million visits…this year we believe we can achieve 6 million.”
He cited: “Asia and ASEAN will continue to be strong markets, this year ,including the top five performers; China, India, Russia, Vietnam and South Korea…Iran in the Middle East will also an emerging market.”
Two main gateways performance
Although showing a decline of 23.55%, China led the field in January with 229,952 visits compared to 300,768 visits during the same month last year. The decline (m-on-m), represents almost 30,000 trips. They were almost certainly zero-dollar tours and probably handled by up to 300 ATTA agents that have commercial links with tour companies that control and manage the notorious tourist scam.
Russia ranked in second place with 36,068 visits increasing 11.80% from 32,260 visits. The next top five markets were: South Korea (21,231; +12.97%); India (16,451; +20.19%); and Japan (13,195; +13.35%).
Suvarnabhumi airport performance
In January, there were 315,734 foreign tourists who travelled with association members at Suvarnabhumi Airport, down 13.56% from 356,899 visits during the same last year.
China was the top supplier of travel agency clients in the first month of the year with 133,586 visits, decreasing 25.91% from 180,304 visits.
Russia followed in second place with 36,042 visits up 11.75% over 32,253 visits during the same month in 2016. South Korea ranked third with 18,432 visits increasing 5.59% from 17,457 visits.
India was fourth with 13,704 visits improving 8.71% from 12,606 visits, while Japan in fifth place, with 12,145 visits growing 11.64% from 10,879 visits.
The next top five markets in January were: the United Kingdom (8,051; -19.83%); Germany (7,688; +15.33%); Vietnam (5,901; +31.28%); France (5,542; +40.52%); and Hong Kong (3,493; +50.50%).
Don Mueang airport performance
The association also reported 118,262 tourists used member companies at Don Mueang Airport in January, decreasing 15.68% from 133,645 during the same month in 2016.
China also topped arrivals at the second gateway recording 96,366 visits down 20.00% from 120,464 visits.
Vietnam was second with 6,511 visits, up 198.94% from 2,178 visits during the same month last year. Indonesia ranked third recording 4,692 visits, a decreasing of 9.33% from 5,175 visits.
South Korea in fourth place, with 2,799 visits, improved 109.35% from 1,337, while India in fifth place, with 2,747 visits, increased 154.12% from 1,081 visits.
The next top five markets were: Malaysia (2,183; 110.31%); Japan (1,050; +37.80%); Poland (304; +82.04%); Myanmar (302; +17.05%) and the UK (217; +25.43%).