Tourism in Thailand

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Detail of the chedi of Wat Chang Kham in Nan, Thailand

Tourism is a major economic factor in the Kingdom of Thailand, contributing an estimated 6.7% to Thailand's GDP in 2007.[1] On June 1, 2013, Time magazine reported that Bangkok was identified as the most visited city in the world by the 2013 Global Destination Cities Index, while Suvarnabhumi Airport was the world's most geotagged location on Instagram in 2013.[2][3] The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) uses the slogan "Amazing Thailand" to promote Thailand internationally.

Overview[edit]

Statue of a mythical Kinnon at Wat Phra Kaew, Bangkok

Among the reasons for the increase in tourism in the 1960s were the stable political atmosphere and the development of Bangkok as a crossroads of international air transportation. The hotel industry and retail industry both expanded rapidly due to tourist demand. It was also boosted by the presence of US soldiers who started to arrive in the 1960s for Rest and Recuperation (R&R) during the Vietnam War period.[4] Coinciding, international mass tourism sharply increased during the same period due to the rising standard of living, more people acquiring more free time and due to improvements in technology making it possible to travel further, faster, cheaper and in greater numbers, epitomised by the Boeing 747 which first flew commercially in 1970.[5] Thailand was one of the major players in Asia to capitalise on this then-new trend.

Thai Woman working Silk looms at the famous Jim Thompson House

Tourist numbers have grown from 336,000 foreign visitors and 54,000 GIs on R&R in 1967[4] to over 22 million international guests visiting Thailand in 2012. The average duration of their stay in 2007 was 9.19 days, generating an estimated 547,782 million Thai baht, around 11 billion Euro.[6] In 2007, Thailand was the 18th most visited country in the World Tourism rankings with 14.5 million visitors.[citation needed]

In 2008, Bangkok ranked 3rd behind London and New York in Euromonitor International's list of "Top City Destinations" with 10,209,900 visitors, Pattaya 23rd with 4,406,300 visitors, Phuket 31st with 3,344,700 visitors, and Chiang Mai ranked 78th place with 1,604,600 visitors.[7] The Global Destinations Cities Index of 2013, compiled by the MasterCard Worldwide corporation, ranked Bangkok as the "top destination city by international visitor arrivals", while London, United Kingdom (UK) and Paris, France were second and third respectively.[2]

According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand,[8] 55% of the tourists in 2007 came from the Asia Pacific region, Japanese and Malaysians forming the two biggest groups. The largest groups of Western tourists come from the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, the United States and Scandinavia. The number of tourists arriving from Russia is on the rise.[9] Around 55% of Thailand's tourists are return visitors. The peak period is during the Christmas and New Year holidays when Western tourists flee cold conditions.

In 2011, 1.7 million Chinese visitors traveled to Thailand and this figure was expected to rise to 2 million in 2012.[10] The Thai-Chinese Tourism Alliance Association declared in February 2013 that Chinese tourists are the main supplier of Thailand's tourism industry and 3.3 million Chinese tourists are expected in 2013. The Association has also calculated that the average Chinese tourist remains in the country for one week and spends THB 30,000 (US$1,000) to THB 40,000 (US$1,300) per person, per trip.[11] According to Thailand’s Tourism Authority, the number of Chinese tourists rose by 93 percent in the first quarter of 2013, an increase that was attributed to the popularity of the Chinese film Lost in Thailand that was filmed in the northern province of Chiang Mai. Chinese media outlets have claimed that Thailand superseded Hong Kong as the top destination for Chinese travellers during the 2013 May Day holiday.[12]

From January to April 2013, the Tourism Authority of Thailand reported that 8,841,730 trips to Thailand were registered.[13]

Domestic tourism has also grown significantly in the past decade. Revenues from domestic tourism have gone from 187,898 million baht in 1998 to 380,417 million baht (approximately 7.8 billion Euro) in 2007.[6]

Asian tourists primarily visit Thailand for Bangkok and the historical, natural and cultural sights in its vicinity. Western tourists not only visit Bangkok and surroundings but in addition many travel to the southern beaches and islands. The North is the main region for trekking and adventure travel with its diverse ethnic minority groups and forested mountains. The region receiving fewer tourists is Isan in the northeast. To accommodate foreign visitors, the Thai government established a separate tourism police with offices in the major tourist areas and its own central emergency telephone number.[14]

Sex tourism also contributes to arrival numbers. Although officially illegal, prostitution in Thailand is monitored and regulated by the government to stem the spread of STD's and to prevent excesses. Prostitution catering to foreigners is believed to be around 20% of the total prostitution scene in Thailand, and is concentrated in a few major red-light districts such as Pattaya, Patpong and Patong Beach.[15]

Thailand has been receiving increased competition ever since Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam opened up to international tourism in the 1980s and 90s. Destinations like Angkor Wat, Luang Prabang and Halong Bay now contest Thailand's former monopoly in the Indochina region. To counter this, Thailand is actively targeting niche markets such as golf holidays, or holidays combined with medical treatment. Thailand has also plans on becoming the hub for Buddhist tourism in the region.[16] According to Lonely Planet, Thailand ranks second of "Best-value destinations for 2010" after Iceland; the latter having been hit very hard by the subprime mortgage crisis.[17]

At the commencement of 2014, the lead Thai airline carrier Thai Airways (THAI) was subject to a rumor that the company would declare bankruptcy in May 2014. Listed on the Thai stock exchange, the company is a state enterprise in which the Finance Ministry holds a stake of up to 51%. In a statement to the media, Chokchai Panyayong, the airways' senior executive vice-president and acting president, stated: "THAI has never once defaulted. Despite its loss in the third quarter of last year, the company still has high liquidity and has a clear plan for debt repayment." He further explained that the carrier's loss of Bt6.35 billion in the third quarter of last year was the result of the company's moves to attract more customers.[18]

2013 Thai political crisis[edit]

At the commencement of 2014, the Thai tourist industry came under scrutiny due to the political turmoil that erupted in October 2013. Due to a planned shut down of the Bangkok's government offices on 13 January 2014 by anti-government protesters, the tourism sector will be on high alerts and new tourists are advised to avoid the Thai capital. If the protests are protracted, the TAT forecast that arrival numbers will drop by around 5 per cent in the first quarter of 2014, with the total number of arrivals down by 260,000 from the original projection of 29.86 million arrivals. Tourism revenue is also expected to drop by Bt0.01 trillion from Bt1.44 trillion.[19]

Statistics[edit]

Annual statistics[edit]

"Amazing Thailand" - Thailand Tourism booth at a Travel and Tour Expo
Year changes references
2013 26,735,583 +19.60% [20]
2012 22,303,065 +15.98 % [21]
2011 19,230,470 +20.67 % [22]
2010 15,936,400 +12.63 % [23]
2009 14,149,841 -2.98 % [24]
2008 14,584,220 +0.83 % [citation needed]
2007 14,464,228 +4.65 % [25]
2006 13,821,802 +20.01 % [citation needed]
2005 11,516,936 -1.15% [citation needed]
2004 11,650,703 no data [citation needed]

Top 20 Most visiting nationalities[edit]

Data from Department of Tourism, Ministry of Tourism and sports[26]

Rank Country or territory 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
*  ASEAN 7,396,297 6,253,480 5,594,577 4,534,235 3,968,579 3,971,429 3,520,051 3,389,342
1  China 4,705,173 2,789,345 1,721,247 1,122,219 777,508 826,660 907,117 949,117
2  Malaysia 2,996,071 2,560,963 2,500,280 2,058,956 1,757,813 1,805,332 1,540,080 1,591,328
3  Russia 1,736,990 1,317,387 1,054,187 644,678 336,965 324,120 277,503 187,658
4  Japan 1,537,979 1,371,253 1,127,893 993,674 1,004,453 1,153,868 1,277,638 1,311,987
5  South Korea 1,297,200 1,169,131 1,006,283 805,445 618,227 889,210 1,083,652 1,092,783
6  Laos 1,106,080 951,090 891,950 715,345 655,034 621,564 513,701 276,207
7  India 1,049,856 1,015,865 914,971 760,371 614,566 536,964 536,356 459,795
8  Singapore 936,477 821,056 682,364 603,538 563,575 570,047 604,603 687,160
9  Australia 907,868 930,599 829,855 698,046 646,705 694,473 658,148 549,547
10  United Kingdom 906,312 870,164 844,972 810,727 841,425 826,523 859,010 850,685
11  United States 826,350 767,420 681,748 611,792 627,074 669,097 681,972 694,258
12  Vietnam 787,301 617,804 496,768 380,368 363,029 338,303 237,672 227,134
13  Germany 744,363 681,566 619,133 606,874 573,473 542,726 544,495 516,659
14  France 614,455 572,996 515,572 461,670 427,067 398,407 373,090 321,278
15  Indonesia 589,079 448,748 370,795 286,072 227,205 247,930 237,592 219,783
16  Hong Kong 581,871 472,699 411,834 316,476 318,762 337,827 367,862 376,636
17  Taiwan 503,157 394,475 447,610 369,220 362,783 393,176 427,474 475,117
18  Cambodia 468,366 424,766 265,903 146,274 96,586 85,790 99,945 117,100
19  Sweden 337,812 350,565 373,856 355,214 350,819 392,274 378,387 306,085
20  Philippines 326,245 288,889 268,375 246,430 217,705 221,506 205,266 198,443
Selling umbrellas at the Sunday evening market in Chiang Mai

Attractions[edit]

Phanom Rung is a Khmer temple complex set on the rim of an extinct volcano in Buriram Province

Thailand offers many varied attractions. These include diving sites, sandy beaches, hundreds of tropical islands, night-life, archaeological sites, museums, hill tribes, exceptional flora and bird life, palaces, a large number of Buddhist temples and several World Heritage sites. Many tourists follow courses during their stay in Thailand. Popular are classes in Thai cooking, Buddhism and traditional Thai massage. Thai national festivals range from Thai New Year Songkran to Loy Krathong. Many localities in Thailand also have their own festivals. Famous are the "Elephant Round-up" in Surin, the "Rocket Festival" in Yasothon and the curious "Phi Ta Khon" festival in Dan Sai. Thai cuisine has become famous worldwide with its enthusiastic use of fresh herbs and spices.

Bangkok shopping malls, offers an wide variety of international and local brands. Towards the north of the city, and easily reached by skytrain or underground, is "Chatuchak Weekend Market". It is possibly the largest market in the world, selling everything from household items to live, and sometimes endangered,[27] animals. The "Pratunam Market" specialises in fabrics and clothing. The night markets in the Silom area and on Khaosan Road are mainly tourist-oriented, selling items such as T-shirts, handicrafts, counterfeit watches, and sunglasses. In the vicinity of Bangkok one can find several visually stunning floating markets such as the one in Damnoen Saduak. The "Sunday Evening Walking Street Market", held on Rachadamnoen Road inside the old city, is a shopping highlight of a visit to Chiang Mai up in northern Thailand. It attracts many locals as well as foreigners. The "Night Bazaar" is Chiang Mai's more tourist-oriented market, sprawling over several city blocks just east of the old city walls towards the river.

Thai attractions placed in the top two positions of a list released by Instagram that identified the ten most photographed locations in 2012. Suvarnabhumi Airport and Siam Paragon shopping mall were ranked #1 and #2 respectively, and were more popular than New York City's Times Square and Paris' Eiffel Tower.[28]

Climate[edit]

Dawn at Patong beach, Phuket Province

Thailand predominantly has a tropical wet and dry or savannah climate while the South and the eastern tip of the East have a tropical monsoon climate.[29]

Most of Thailand experiences three seasons:

  • The cool dry season from late November till February is most excellent up north with temperatures in December for Chiang Mai averaging around 15 Celsius at night time and going up to around 28 Celsius during daytime with clear sunny skies. Higher up in the mountains, temperatures can even drop down to near freezing at night. In Bangkok and in the central and north-eastern plains of Thailand, midday temperatures during the cool dry season average around 30 Celsius and the humidity is much lower.
  • The hot dry season from March till May can see daytime temperatures in the mid to high 30s. This is the time for holding festivals (such as Songkran and Rocket Festival) to mark the coming of the rainy season.
  • The rainy season from May to October has daytime temperatures in the low 30s with night-time temperatures in the mid to high 20s, though there are some areas with a relatively short rainy season, such as Ko Samui where it is typically only approximately 6 weeks, starting in October and running through November.[30] Rain showers occur mainly late in the afternoon or early in the evening. Typically the humidity level is high.

Deeper south on the Kra Isthmus with its tropical monsoon climate, daytime temperatures the year round tend to hover around 31 Celsius with only a marked increase in rainfall during the monsoons. The west coast is affected by monsoons from May to October, the south-east coast of the isthmus is affected from October to January.[31]

Medical tourism[edit]

Medical tourism is a large and growing sector within Thailand’s extensive tourism and healthcare industries. The country is extremely attractive to potential medical tourists and international patients for a number of important reasons: it has many internationally accredited hospitals, including 30 JCI-accredited hospitals; it has experienced, often Western-trained medical professionals; it has the latest medical technology; and, it has significantly lower costs of treatment when compared to corresponding procedures in the West. Taken together, all these factors—plus the country’s reputation as a popular tourist destination—have made Thailand one of the world’s most popular medical tourism destinations.[32]

Some of the primary destinations for medical tourism in Thailand are Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hua Hin, Koh Samui, Pattaya/Chonburi, and Phuket.[33]

Statistics[edit]

Nearly 2.5 million medical tourists from countries around the world came to Thailand for medical treatment in 2012,[34] with these numbers poised to show continued growth through 2013 and beyond. The Kingdom’s medical tourism industry’s rate of growth is approximately 16% per annum, with the country projected to generate some 100 billion Thai baht in annual revenue by the year 2015.[35]

The Kasikorn Survey Center found that 60% of Thailand’s medical tourists – 1.48 million persons – visited Thailand in 2012 with the intention of receiving medical care or treatment. 45% of these medical tourists – 670,000 patients – had a 1:1 ratio of accompanying party traveling with them; i.e., an additional 670,000 visitors to Thailand. It is estimated that Thailand’s medical tourism industry generated at least 140,000 million Thai baht in the year 2012.[36]

JCI Accreditation[edit]

Thailand has the largest private hospital in Asia: Bumrungrad International Hospital.[37] Thailand was also the first Asian country to achieve the prestigious Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation in 2002; as of September 2013, 30 hospitals are now JCI-accredited.[38]

Major destinations[edit]

Map of Thailand

Central and eastern seaboard Thailand

Northern Thailand

North-eastern Thailand

Southern Thailand

See also[edit]

The Ho trai (temple library) of Wat Tung Sri Muang in Ubon Ratchathani
A woman of the Karen ethnic group
Grilled prawns are just one of the many dishes in Thai cuisine

General[edit]

Art and culture[edit]

Nature and sports[edit]

Language[edit]

Tourism[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Thailand Tourism Review. Bangkokpost.com. Retrieved on 2010-09-16.
  2. ^ a b Kristene Quan (1 June 2013). "And the World’s No. 1 Tourist Destination Is …". Time. Time Inc. Retrieved 3 June 2013. 
  3. ^ Ben Abramson (31 December 2013). "Most popular photo locations on Instagram in 2013". USA Today. Retrieved 9 January 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Ouyyanont, Porphant (2001). "The Vietnam War and Tourism in Bangkok's Development, 1960-70". The southeast asian studies 39 (2): 157–187. 
  5. ^ Activity 1 | The rise of tourism. Unesco.org. Retrieved on 2010-09-16.
  6. ^ a b Tourism Authority of Thailand. .tat.or.th (2008-05-06). Retrieved on 2010-09-16.
  7. ^ Euromonitor International (January 2010). "Euromonitor International's Top City Destination Ranking". Retrieved 2010-10-14. 
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ Tourism Authority of Thailand. .tat.or.th. Retrieved on 2010-09-16.
  10. ^ "Chinese visitors should reach 2 million in 2012". Thailand Business News. Siam News Network. 23 April 2012. Retrieved 3 June 2013. 
  11. ^ Wanwisa Ngamsangchaikit (18 February 2013). "Chinese spend more in Thailand". TTR Weekly. TTR Weekly. Retrieved 3 June 2013. 
  12. ^ Julie Zhu (3 May 2013). "Chinese tourists flock to Thailand thanks to hit comedy film". Financial Times. Retrieved 3 June 2013. 
  13. ^ Maierbrugger, Arno (21 May 2013). "Tourists evermore in love with Thailand". Inside Investor. Retrieved 23 May 2013. 
  14. ^ Tourist Police in Thailand. Amazing-Thailand.com. Retrieved on 2010-09-16.
  15. ^ The International Encyclopedia of Sexuality: Thailand. .hu-berlin.de. Retrieved on 2010-09-16.
  16. ^ Outbound travel on the upswing, 4/05/2010
  17. ^ Thailand second best-value destination, 3/11/2009]
  18. ^ Amornrat Mahitthirook (8 January 2014). "THAI dismisses rumours of impending bankruptcy". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 9 January 2014. 
  19. ^ "Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Bangkok shutdown prompts tourism alert, embassy fears; Gaur deaths amid park fight; Hospital warns of beauty treatments". Phuket Gazette. 9 January 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2014. 
  20. ^ "สถิตินักท่องเที่ยว (Tourist Arrivals in Thailand.) 2013". Department of Tourism (in Thai and English). Department of Tourism. 2011. Retrieved 16 November 2013. 
  21. ^ Rapeepat Mantanarat (17 January 2013). "Thailand hits 22m visits". TTR Weekly. TTR Weekly. Retrieved 16 November 2013. 
  22. ^ http://www.bangkokpost.com/travel/news/252872/record-number-of-arrivals-expected retrieved on August 22, 2011[dead link]
  23. ^ http://tourism.go.th/2010/th/statistic/tourism.php?cid=30 retrieved on 3 May 2011[dead link]
  24. ^ http://tourism.go.th/2010/th/statistic/tourism.php?cid=27 สืบค้นข้อมูล 4 กุมภาพันธ์ 2554[dead link]
  25. ^ "ข้อมูลที่สำคัญระดับประเทศ". ข้อมูลที่สำคัญระดับประเทศ (in Thai). ที่มา : การท่องเที่ยวแห่งประเทศไทย. 2007. Retrieved 16 November 2013. 
  26. ^ http://tourism.go.th/2010/th/statistic/tourism.php?cid=30 retrieved on 4 February 2011
  27. ^ IUCN - Home. Cms.iucn.org (2008-04-24). Retrieved on 2010-09-16.
  28. ^ Jon Russell (28 December 2012). "Suvarnabhumi Airport in Thailand tops Instagram’s list of most photographed places in 2012". The Next Web. The Next Web, Inc. Retrieved 3 June 2013. 
  29. ^ World Maps of the Köppen-Geiger climate classification updated. Koeppen-geiger.vu-wien.ac.at. Retrieved on 2010-09-16.
  30. ^ Ko Samui#Climate
  31. ^ World Weather Information Service - Thailand. Worldweather.org (2006-10-16). Retrieved on 2010-09-16.
  32. ^ "Countries that are Considered Top Medical Tourism Destinations in the World". My Med Holiday. MyMEDHoliday.com. 30 April 2013. Retrieved 27 September 2013. 
  33. ^ "Thailand Medical Tourism". My Med Holiday. MyMEDHoliday.com. 2012-2013. Retrieved 27 September 2013. 
  34. ^ http://stocks.newsok.com/newsok/news/read/23058354/thailand_ready_to_be_medical_hub_and_aim_world
  35. ^ http://www.mymedholiday.com/article-info/50/149/countries-that-are-considered-top-medical-tourism-destinations-in-the-world#.UihbfdJATHR
  36. ^ http://www.ksmecare.com/Article/82/28465/%E0%B8%98%E0%B8%B8%E0%B8%A3%E0%B8%81%E0%B8%B4%E0%B8%88%E0%B8%97%E0%B9%88%E0%B8%AD%E0%B8%87%E0%B9%80%E0%B8%97%E0%B8%B5%E0%B9%88%E0%B8%A2%E0%B8%A7%E0%B9%80%E0%B8%8A%E0%B8%B4%E0%B8%87%E0%B8%AA%E0%B8%B8%E0%B8%82%E0%B8%25A
  37. ^ http://www.patientsbeyondborders.com/hospital/bumrungrad-international-hospital
  38. ^ http://www.mymedholiday.com/country/thailand/article/40/healthcare-system-quality-in-thailand#.Uihbr9JATHR

External links[edit]