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Thailand’s tourism numbers continue to soar

Tanutam Thawan

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Thailand’s tourism numbers continue to soar | The Thaiger

The tourists keep arriving, the numbers keep soaring. Assuming the numbers have to plateau at some stage, when will that be?

For the past 20 years, through floods, bombings, coups, political upheavals and a few unsolved, mystery murders, Thailand’s tourist arrival numbers just keep rising and rising, heading into unfamiliar territory. So many people have predicted doom and gloom – “the good days are over” – but still the tourists continue to flock to the Land of Smiles.

Once known to the world as the Land of a Thousand Smiles Thailand’s probably more accurately known these days as the Land of a Thousand 7/11s. If you were going to start a successful business in Phuket in 2017 you’d either open a convenience store or a rubber shop and do a deal with the tour buses. A story in ttrweekly.com has all the numbers….

China continues to dominate Thailand’s inbound tourist arrivals with August ending up with 3,133,411 visits, up 8.6% year-on-year. August was the fourth month, this year, that saw arrivals exceed 3 million, the second highest after January when visits reached 3,197,053.

Other peak travel months when visits exceeded 3 million were March and July.

So where did tourists come from in August?

• China, 982,212 +10.30%

• Malaysia, 277,606 +9.52%

• South Korea, 164,001 +16.52%

• Japan, 162,703 +5.03%

• Laos,158,377 +4.18%

• India, 116,376 +14.77%

• Hong Kong, 93,136 +8.88%

• Vietnam, 90,502 +9.17%

• Cambodia, 82,776 +20.84%

• Singapore, 81,366 + 21.2%.

Most Asian nations have seen their currencies strengthen against the US dollar and they are the main source for Thailand’s tourist arrivals. January to August revenue reached an estimated 1.19 trillion THB, an increase of 7.47% over the same period last year. Tourism earnings represent 12% of Thailand’s total GDP.

August figures, and those for the eight months so far, show China dominates Thailand’s travel supply chain. If there was ever a blip in that pattern it would drive the tourism industry to hit the panic button, as it did during last year’s crackdown on zero-dollar tours.

In 2016 Thailand registered 32.6 million visits. Based on the current performance tourism officials are confident visits will exceed 35 million by the end of the 2017.

ORIGINAL STORY: ttrweekly.com
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Local Thai journalist speaking fluent Thai and English. Tanutam studied in Khon Kaen before attending Bangkok’s Chulalongkhorn University.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    foot

    September 26, 2017 at 3:41 am

    I’ve been here for 8 years now. I’ve watched how, in the last 3 years, being a real world-class tourist destination is no longer a priority in Phuket.

    In spite of all the rosy tourist projects and percentages, high season now runs from mid December to mid January. It use to be from November through Songkran in April.

    The life guard situation is shameful. Phuket has also done many things to discourage tourism such as the elimination of beach chairs & umbrellas, beach side markets, shops, bars, and restaurants. While, at the same time, Phuket allows many uncontrolled anti-tourism conditions to exist such as tuk-tuk mafia, dangerous driving habits, dangerous uncontrolled roads (Patong Hill), jet-skis and parasailing.

    Like any business, Phuket must reinvest in things free spending tourist desire. Phuket chooses not to do so. Maybe, it’s on orders from Bangkok. Maybe, their hands are tied. But, the failure to reinvested in the money making tourist industry has caused a huge decline in business. High season, business wise, is now December -January. A few years ago it was November-April.

    I love Thailand. The people, weather, food, scents, experiences. But, it’s painful to see the tourism decline with the resulting loss of income to the Thai working class.

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Economy

Opposition hits out at government’s military spending in 2020 budget

May Taylor

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Opposition hits out at government’s military spending in 2020 budget | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Reuters | The Business Times

The opposition is accusing the government of being more concerned with military arms than the daily struggles of Thai citizens. During a debate in Parliament on the budget bill, the government was accused of caring more about the growth in military spending than citizens’ financial woes.

The opposition levied the attack after PM General Prayut Chan-o-cha delivered the 3.2 trillion baht bill to the House of Representatives. The debate on the 2020 budget is expected to continue for two more days and if approved by Parliament, the bill will come into force early next year.

The PM says the budget aligns with the “20 year strategy” to improve the living standards of the nation’s citizens while growing the economy, but opponents accuse him of making defence spending a priority.

The leader of the opposition, Sompong Amornvivat, claims that in the five years the PM has been in power, total spending has hit 14.3 trillion baht, with loans of 2.2 trillion baht, without any significant growth in the economy. He accuses the government of spending more than 6 billion baht on defence, with the Interior Ministry getting 25 billion baht more than last year.

It’s also understood that the government has also put 518.8 billion baht aside, which it can spend as it wishes, without the consent of Parliament.

The government’s tourism stimulus plan, whereby domestic tourists would be given cash incentives, also came under fire as Sompong declared it a waste of money that would do nothing to boost productivity.

The subject of the PM’s oath-taking fiasco reared its head again, as the leader of the Seree Ruam Thai Party, Pol General Sereepisut Temiyavej declared the PM and his government unfit to rule or propose a budget bill as a result of it.

Anudit Nakorntab from the Pheu Thai party said the government should postpone unnecessary spending on military arms while the country’s citizens battle economic hardship, accusing the previous junta-led administration of also prioritising the military in its spending.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Environment

Academics warn of high cost of Thai ban on agri-chemicals

May Taylor

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Academics warn of high cost of Thai ban on agri-chemicals | The Thaiger

The chairman of the Thai Sugarcane Farmers Association, Thongkam Cheongklad, says a ban on the weed-killer paraquat would have a severe impact on production costs. Academics and Thai sugarcane farmers have also expressed their concern over the ban, saying it could cost the industry up to 570 billion baht.

The Nation reports that up to 1.2 million people working in the sugarcane industry are understood to be against the ban, saying the proposed paraquat substitute is both expensive and ineffective.

The president of the Thailand Society of Sugarcane Technologists, Kitti Choonhawong, says Thailand has approximately 11 million rai dedicated to sugarcane plantations, generating about 300 billion baht a year.

He claims that a ban on agri-chemicals may lower sugar production, which in turn would affect sugar factories and cause the export market to lose as much as 94.6 billion baht. Thailand is currently the world’s second biggest sugar exporter, behind Brazil.

A research director from the Thailand Development Institute says the ban could ultimately mean the country is not allowed to produce enough food, unless chemical fertilisers are still allowed if chemical pesticides are banned.

Viroj Na Ranong says production costs will still rise however, along with labour costs, adding that the government needs to do its homework.

“The government has to implement measures based on research, not on social trends and politics.”

It’s understood that The National Hazardous Substances Committee will meet on October 27 to decide if a ban on three chemicals currently used in farming will go ahead. The substances involved are paraquat, glyphosate and chlorpyrifos and the proposal is for them to be banned from December 1.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Hua Hin

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain

May Taylor

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Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | The Thaiger

The Thailand Meteorological Department issued a weather warning for southern Thailand with torrential rain forecast to hit the region throughout the weekend. The heavy monsoon over the Gulf of Thailand and south of the country is being blamed for the rough weather, with the TMD predicting flash flooding in many areas.

(Phuket, Hat Yai and Hua Hin’s forecast below)

“Waves are expected to reach 2 metres in height in the lower Gulf of Thailand and possibly higher at the height of the storm. Ships are advised to proceed with caution.”

For the north and northeast of Thailand, the TMD forecasts strong winds and cooler mornings as the arrival of the “winter” season, coupled with a moderate high-pressure system, causes temperatures to dip.

Hua Hin’s five day forecast

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | News by The Thaiger

Phuket’s five day forecast

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | News by The Thaiger

Hat Yai’s five day forecast

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation | weather.com

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