Tourism in Thailand
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. 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. Thailand was one of the major players in Asia to capitalise on this then-new trend.
Tourist numbers have grown from 336,000 foreign visitors and 54,000 R&R soldiers in 1967 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. In 2007, Thailand was the 18th most visited country in the World Tourism rankings with 14.5 million visitors.
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.
According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, 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. Around 55% of Thailand's tourists are return visitors. The peak period is during the Christmas and New Year holidays when Western tourists flee the cold conditions.
In 2012, 2.7 million Chinese visitors traveled to Thailand. 
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.
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 down 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 less tourists is Isan in the north-east. To facilitate foreign visitors, the Thai government established a separate tourism police with offices in the major tourist areas and its own central emergency telephone number.
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.
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. Around 2 million foreigners visiting Thailand for medical treatment are expected in 2009, more than 3 times the amount of tourist visiting for that purpose in 2002. 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.
Annual statistics 
Top 20 Most visiting nationalities 
Data from Department of Tourism, Ministry of Tourism and sports 
|Rank||Country or territory||2012||2011||2010||2009||2008||2007||2006|
International marketing slogan 
The main marketing slogan for promoting Thailand internationally was "Amazing Thailand". The main marketing slogan for promoting Thai tourism to the Thai is Unseen in Thailand.
Thailand offers a great variety of attractions. These include diving sites, sandy beaches, hundreds of tropical islands, varied night-life, archaeological sites, museums, hill tribes, exceptional flora and bird life, palaces, a huge amount 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 the fun-for-all water splashing Songkran to the almost fairytale like quality of 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.
Only the most austere ascetics can resist shopping when in Thailand. Bangkok is renowned for its main shopping malls, offering an astounding 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, animals. The "Pratunam Market" specialises in fabrics and clothing. The night markets in the Silom area and on Khaosan Road are mainly tourist orientated, 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, must be the 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 orientated market, sprawling over several city blocks just east of the old city walls towards the river.
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. 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 monsoon from May to October, the south-east coast of the isthmus is affected from October to January.
Major destinations 
Central and eastern seaboard Thailand
- Hat Yai
- Ko Tao
- Nakhon Si Thammarat
- Phang Nga
- Ko Samui
- Ko Lipe
- Khao Lak
See also 
- Provinces of Thailand Tourist attractions listed under each individual province
- Transportation in Thailand
- Geography of Thailand
- Public holidays in Thailand
Art and culture 
- Prehistoric Thailand
- History of Thailand
- Culture of Thailand
- Ethnic groups in Thailand
- Thai temple art and architecture
- List of Buddhist temples in Thailand
- List of museums in Thailand
- Development of the Buddha image in Thailand
- Iconography of Gautama Buddha in Laos and Thailand
- Dance of Thailand
- Thai silk
- Cuisine of Thailand
- Category:Festivals in Thailand
Nature and sports 
- List of national parks of Thailand
- List of mammals in Thailand
- List of birds of Thailand
- List of islands of Thailand
- Diving in Thailand
- Ministry of Tourism and Sports (Thailand)
- Muay Thai Thai martial art of kickboxing
- Thai language
- Tinglish Thai version of the English language
- Farang Thai word for a foreigner of European ancestry
- Tourism in Bangkok
- Markets in Bangkok
- Medical tourism in Thailand
- Responsible Tourism in Thailand
- List of shopping malls in Thailand
- List of Thai dishes
- Banana Pancake Trail
- Category:Visitor attractions in Thailand
Notes and references 
- Thailand Tourism Review. Bangkokpost.com. Retrieved on 2010-09-16.
- Ouyyanont, Porphant (2001). "The Vietnam War and Tourism in Bangkok's Development, 1960-70". The southeast asian studies 39 (2): 157–187.
- Activity 1 | The rise of tourism. Unesco.org. Retrieved on 2010-09-16.
- Tourism Authority of Thailand. .tat.or.th (2008-05-06). Retrieved on 2010-09-16.
- Euromonitor International (January 2010). "Euromonitor International's Top City Destination Ranking". Retrieved 2010-10-14.
- Tourism Authority of Thailand. .tat.or.th. Retrieved on 2010-09-16.
- Thailand Business News. Retrieved on 2012-05-06.
- Tourist Police in Thailand. Amazing-Thailand.com. Retrieved on 2010-09-16.
- The International Encyclopedia of Sexuality: Thailand. .hu-berlin.de. Retrieved on 2010-09-16.
- Outbound travel on the upswing, 4/05/2010
- [dead link]
- Thailand second best-value destination, 3/11/2009]
- http:// www.tourism.go.th/tourism/th/home/tourism.php
- http://www.bangkokpost.com/travel/news/252872/record-number-of-arrivals-expected retrieved on August 22, 2011
- http://tourism.go.th/2010/th/statistic/tourism.php?cid=30 retrieved on 3 May 2011
- http://tourism.go.th/2010/th/statistic/tourism.php?cid=27 สืบค้นข้อมูล 4 กุมภาพันธ์ 2554
- http://service.nso.go.th/nso/thailand/dataFile/16/J16W/J16W/th/0.htm retrieved on 16 July 2011
- http://tourism.go.th/2010/th/statistic/tourism.php?cid=30 retrieved on 4 February 2011
- IUCN - Home. Cms.iucn.org (2008-04-24). Retrieved on 2010-09-16.
- World Maps of the Köppen-Geiger climate classification updated. Koeppen-geiger.vu-wien.ac.at. Retrieved on 2010-09-16.
- World Weather Information Service - Thailand. Worldweather.org (2006-10-16). Retrieved on 2010-09-16.
|Wikivoyage has travel information related to: Thailand|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Tourism in Thailand|
- Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)
- Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Newsroom
- Upcoming festivals and events listed by the TAT
- Negative consequences of tourist development in Thailand
- English language Thai daily newspaper Bangkok Post
- English language Thai daily newspaper The Nation
- Birdwatching in Thailand
- Caves and caving in Thailand
- Tourist Police of Thailand