Press Releases

Despite political instability, Thailand tourism industry is going up

11 Apr 2014

Despite current woes owing to political unrest, the outlook is generally bright for the Thai tourism industry, finds new report from Tourism IC.

The Thai travel and tourism sector has posted healthy growth in recent years, with increasing numbers of tourists from countries such as China, India and Russia. In 2013 international tourists to the country reached 26.7 million, and a cross-country comparison with Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Singapore, revealed that the average expenditure per international tourist in Thailand was second-highest in 2013, after Singapore.

While the short-term outlook is clouded by political instability, the country's tourism sector has generally been resilient to outbreaks of political unrest in the capital, Bangkok. Tourism flows to key beach destinations suffer only temporary downturns. Therefore, despite concerns over political instability, the number of inbound tourists to Thailand is expected to reach 45.0 million by 2018, with annual average growth of around 11% between 2014 and 2018. Total inbound tourist expenditure is also expected to increase at annual average rate of nearly 13% to reach THB2.0 trillion (US$63.6 billion) in 2018.

Tourism IC has identified the following key trends and issues in the Thai travel and tourism sector:

Increase in tourists from emerging countries

Thailand recorded significant growth in the number of tourist arrivals from emerging countries, such as India, China and Russia at respective annual average growth of 14.32%, 56.84% and 50.68% in 2008-13. The increase can be attributed to a rise in income levels in these countries, the abundance of low-cost flying options, and the Tourism Authority of Thailand's (TAT) promotional efforts.

Growth of low-cost carriers

The Thai aviation market has recorded strong growth in low-cost carriers (LCCs), particularly in the domestic market. Three LCCs - Thai AirAsia, Nok Air and Orient Thai Airlines -accounted for 50.5% of passenger traffic in the domestic market in 2012.

Political unrest remains a risk to future growth

Political protests in Bangkok, the country's hub of tourism activity, which started at the end of 2013 and continued into the first two months of 2014, have had a negative impact on the country's tourism sector. A quick solution to the crisis is not expected and military intervention is still a possibility. While the country's beach destinations typically recover from negative international media coverage, prolonged unrest has the potential to damage Thailand's image as a safe tourist destination.

Source: Company Press Release

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