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Russian tourist arrivals hit 1mn, overall arrivals reach 32.51mn

Russian tourist arrivals hit 1mn, overall arrivals reach 32.51mn

PHUKET: Once again Russia became the first non-Asia tourist market to record 1mn visits to Thailand. Australia, the US and European countries are yet to make it.

By Anton Makhrov

Monday 9 December 2019, 04:20PM

Russian are still heavyweights in Phuket's buoyant tourism industry. Photo:  Miguel Discart / Flickr

Russian are still heavyweights in Phuket's buoyant tourism industry. Photo: Miguel Discart / Flickr

According to the latest statistics released by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports (MoTS), some 106,693 Russian nationals visited Thailand in October doubling the numbers for the months from May through September and showing 5.41% growth against October last year. This growth falls in line with the standard pattern, according to which Russia normally provides Thailand with around 100,000 tourists in April and October and twice as much trough December to March.

Overall Russian arrivals for the 10 months of the year totaled 1.08 million representing 2.19% decline against the same period last year. Yet, Russia still keeps its status of the most important tourism market among non-Asian countries.

Same report by MoTS also documents the continuing resurgence in Chinese visitor arrivals. In October alone Thailand welcomed 826,392 tourists from China, an increase of 27.81% year on year, while arrivals for the 10 months totaled 9.34mn, representing 3.58% growth against the same period of 2018.

Visitor arrivals from India in October 2019 continued to boom, growing by 37.9% and totaling 161,961. Arrivals from India since beginning of the year have already totaled 1.63mn (+26.72% year on year) making this market one of the most important for Phuket and Thailand in general.

As of last August, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) expected some 2mn arrivals from India this year thanks to more direct flights and free visas-on-arrival until April 30, 2020.

Over 1mn arrivals have already been recorded in the Japanese and Korean segments, as the first of the two countries provided 1.49mn visits in January-October and the second recorded 1.55mn (+9.94% and +5.73% respectively). Arrivals from Taiwan and Hong Kong during the 10 months grew by 14.67% and 2.79% receptively and totaled 660,923 and 874,214.

Known as pretty unstable recently, the market of Australia kept going down. Australian visitors fell by 5.23% to 67,857 in October and decreased by 3.35% to 642,619 since January.

In contrast, visits from the US increased by 4.24% to 86,527 in October. American arrivals for the 10 months since January grew by 4.68% and reached 915,391.


None of key European markets – excluding Russia – was able to show any significant growth neither in October nor since the beginning of year. Arrivals from UK in January-October totaled 795,327 (+0.97%), arrivals from France and Germany reached 612,009 and 666,626 respectively (-0.05% and -3,64%).

Positive dynamics was recorded only in Spanish arrivals (156,027 visitors, +3.11%) and arrivals from the Eastern Europe (407,340 visitors, +4.98%).

Overall arrivals from Europe – including Russia – for the 10 months slid from 5.24mn to 5.16mn representing a 1.58% contraction.

Meanwhile, tourism from Middle East keeps flourishing with 598,885 visits from this region recorded in January-October, representing 45.05% growth. UAE and Israel lead the pack with half of the visits being from either of these two countries.

Total foreign arrivals from all markets in October reached 3.04mn against 2.7mn last year, showing 12.51% growth. Arrivals for the 10 months since January totaled 32.51mn (+4.29).

Tourist spending, as calculated by the MoTS, reached B147.8 billion in October (+9.27%) and B1.58 trillion since January (+3.97%).

The Tourism Council of Thailand expects that for the 12 months of the year Thailand will welcome 39.7mn foreign tourists who will spend B1.95trn in revenue.

The predictions were slashed from the previous expectation of 40.1mn visits and B2.13trn in revenue due to the strengthening of Thai currency, which is considered to be the most pressing challenge for tourism this high season.

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CaptainJack69 | 13 December 2019 - 11:33:25

What those numbers actually say is that there were more Russians than Europeans but it's insignificant compared to Chinese and Indians and even ball-park similar to Japanese and Korean. But who trusts these numbers anyway? All those people arrived in October? WHERE did they all go? Did they just stay at the airport? Because there was no one around in October and still isn't now.

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