Thailand welcomed a total of 26,735,583 visitors in 2013, exceeding the year’s original target of 26.1 million and representing a 19.6% increase in the number of international tourists who visited the country in 2012.
Thawatchai Arunyik, governor of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), said the achievement brought “joy” to Thailand and its travel and tourism industry.
“These statistics are invaluable as evidence that despite the challenging factors including the ongoing political demonstrations in Bangkok, Thailand remains a popular and welcoming tourist destination,” Mr Arunyik added.
The governor attributed the growth to the concerted efforts by the entire Thai travel and tourism industry.
“We are working hand in hand in creating a memorable travel experience to tourists. During tough times, such as the current ongoing anti-government demonstrations, we are also working hand in hand in ensuring utmost convenience to tourists, our friends of Thailand.”
According to data tabulated by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, in 2013, six Asia-Pacific countries contributed more than one million visitor arrivals.
China topped the chart at 4.7 million arrivals (a 68.83% jump), followed by Malaysia at 2.99 million tourists (up 17.29%), Russia at 1.73 million arrivals (a 31.93% growth), Japan at 1.53 million tourists (an 11.96% increase), South Korea at 1.29 million arrivals (up 11.48%), and India at 1.04 million visitors (a 3.61% rise).
By region, East Asia remains the largest contributor at 16.09 million arrivals (up 28.47%), representing a 60.18% share of the overall visitor markets to Thailand.
Europe is the second largest market by region at 6.3 million visitors (an 11.62% increase), followed by South Asia at 1.34 million arrivals (a 4.63% growth) and the Americas at 1.17 million tourists (up 8.05%).
In 2014, TAT expects to welcome 28.01 million international tourist arrivals through various tourism promotional activities under the ‘Amazing Thailand: It Begins with the People’ campaign.
In related statistics, the number of visitor arrivals to Thailand at Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang International Airports reached a total of 16,989, 458 in 2013, representing a 16.65% increase over 2012. In December 2013, the number reached 1.59 million arrivals or a 1.99% year-on-year increase.