August tourist arrivals down 11.8%

16 กันยายน 2557, 7:41 น.

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The predicted recovery of tourism in the post-coup era remains elusive, with statistics for August showing international arrivals down 11.85% from the same month a year ago.

The slump in August followed declines of 10.9% year-on-year in July and 24.4% in June.

For the first eight months of this year, foreign arrivals to Thailand totalled 15.7 million, down 10.66% from 17.57 million in the same period last year, the Department of Tourism reported on its website.

Arrivals from other Asean countries, which accounted for 28.9% of all visitors to Thailand in August, were down 21.6% year-on-year in August to 533,857. For the year to Aug 31 they were down 12.1% to 4.18 million.

Numbers are down sharply as well from other East Asian markets — China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan — where travellers tend to be concerned about security.

Chinese travellers accounted for 20.2% of all arrivals to Thailand in August, with a total of 452,086, down 5.2% from a year earlier. The figure is an improvement from the 25% plunge seen in July but for the year to date, Chinese visitor numbers are still down 18.9% to 2.67 million.

The declines have been much larger for four other countries that together accounted for 15% of all international travellers to Thailand in the first eight months: Hong Kong is down 33.9%, Japan 20.6%, South Korea 14.7% and Taiwan 30.5%.

The tourism sector accounts for about 10% of the country's economy, and policymakers has been predicting a swift recovery after the May 22 coup brought an end to months of political unrest.

However, perceptions of Thailand remain negative in many countries, even though most have lifted the travel advisories issued when street demonstrations in Bangkok resulted in occasional violence.

Tourist arrivals from Europe were down 3.3% in August and 3.2% for the first eight months of the year. European visitors made up 26.2% of all arrivals in the January-August period, up from 22.75% in the same period in 2013. The change underlines the severity of the declines from other markets, notably Asia.

Among major European markets, arrivals from the UK were down 1.5% in August but up 3.2% for the first eight months. German arrivals were up 8.3% in August but down 0.8% for the year to date. Arrivals from Russia, which accounts for 2.9% of all visitors to Thailand, were down 18.2% in August but are up 4.8% on the year.

Among other large markets, arrivals from the United States were down 8.47% in August and 6.5% for the first eight months. Australian arrivals, which account to 3.5% of all visitors to Thailand, fell 3.7% in August and were down 3.5% for the first eight months of the year.