Thailand has always been a popular tourist destination and tourism provides a major boost to the country’s economy. Bangkok, Hua Hin, Krabi, Samui, Phuket and Cha Am are some of the most attractive tourist destinations in the country.
In 2012, Thailand had a very high number of arrivals. Even the number of Thai citizens who traveled within the country increased. Travel accommodations such as hotels and resorts witnessed various international chains and local chains open new hotels, mainly in the major cities of Thailand.
In 2013, Thailand welcomed more than 26.7 million visitors. The country surpassed 2013’s original target of 26.1 million visitors, representing a 19.6% increase in the number of foreign tourists who visited Thailand in 2012.
However in February 2014, the tourism industry in Thailand has been warned that it will potentially lose revenue to the tune of $2.69 billion if the violent protests and political turmoil in the country dragged for another few months. TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand) has estimated that the number of international tourists visiting the popular winter sun destination will drop by 900,000 over the next six months from February 2014. The biggest fall will be in tour groups segment that accounts for around 30-35% of the visitors. However, TAT is in talks with eight tourism associations in order to market themselves during this rough period.
According to National News Bureau of Thailand, since the protests started, tourists’ arrivals for 2014 have been revised from 28.1 million (which was predicted in July 2013) to 27.5 million.
In the first week of December 2013, visitor arrivals at the Bangkok International Airport fell by 15% in comparison to the same period in 2012. However, the tourism arrivals witnessed an increase of over 20% from January to November in 2013 compared to the same period in the previous year.
Thailand is also one of the top medical tourism destinations in the world. Medical tourism is an innovative way of integrating medical services with leisure travel. Medical tourists across the world have increased rapidly from 20 million in 2006 to 40 million in 2012.
Tourism industry in Thailand accounts for more than 7% of Thailand’s economy. Hence, the country needs to bounce back from the current political tension that Thailand is facing to ensure future growth in the tourism industry.
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