Despite the recent tragic act of terrorism in the commercial centre of Bangkok, Thailand is likely to hit a new tourism record this year. On the same day than the hosting press conference of the Ministry of Tourism in conjunction with the UN World Tourism Organisation and the World Tourism and Travel Council, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Minister welcomed at Suvarnabhumi airport the 20th million tourist of the year, a Japanese businessman from Fukuoka. Asked why he was travelling to spend a holiday in Thailand, the Japanese visitor answered that it was “because of the friendly people”.
Thailand projects this year to welcome 28.5 to 29 million travellers, compared to 24.5 million foreign visitors in the year before. This would represent a growth of 16.5% to 18.5% over the previous year. So far, according to official data from the Ministry of Tourism covering the period from January 1st to August 23, a total of 27.06 million foreign visitors entered the Kingdom, a number up by 23.4% compared to the same period of 2014. Revenues of tourism during the same period of the year stood at US$36.9 billion.
In the short term, total arrivals are likely to be slightly impacted, although traditional mature markets such as Europe, Australia or the Americas seem not to see a slowdown in booking. News agency Reuters indicates however that a decline is to be expected from China. The agency cited data from ForwardKeys, which tracks over 14 million travel bookings a day.
According to ForwardKeys, data for the five days after the bombing compared to the same period in 2014 showed net bookings to Thailand down 65% and business travel from China tanking 350%. That would indicate that 2.5 times more Chinese business trips were cancelled during that period this year than were booked a year ago.