Tourist arrivals eke out 2.5% gain in Nov

Tourist arrivals eke out 2.5% gain in Nov

Soaring Chinese tourism offset by Russian plunge

International tourist arrivals in November increased 2.5% from the same month a year earlier, the first month in which anti-government protests began to affect Bangkok.

The Department of Tourism says arrivals at Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports grew at 2.49% to 1.58 million, but slowed when compared with year-on-year figures from October, when arrivals jumped 6.4%. Tourist arrivals overall fell 7% year-on-year in September. (Bangkok Post photo)

The Department of Tourism said Wednesday that arrivals at Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports grew at 2.49% to 1.58 million, but slowed when compared with year-on-year figures from October, when arrivals jumped 6.4%. Tourist arrivals overall fell 7% year-on-year in September.

Thailand's tourist arrivals for the year through November also remain down by 8.6%. To date, 21.9 million international tourists have arrived in the kingdom, down from 24 million at this point in 2013.

November 2013 saw the first significant impact on Thailand's tourism industry from street protests organised by the Peoples Democratic Reform Committee against the Yingluck Shinawatra government. The demonstrations gained steam on Dec 3, when 36 countries issued travel warnings for Thailand, and reached their peak with the "Bangkok Shutdown" in January.

While not strong, November's year-on-year growth did provide some welcome news in the form of resurgence in travel to Thailand by Chinese tourists.

While not strong, November’s year-on-year growth did provide some welcome news in the form of resurgence in travel to Thailand by Chinese tourists. (Bangkok Post photo)

Arrivals from China leaped 58.5% from November last year to 369,522. Arrivals from Hong Kong grew 4.3% to 38,500, but Taiwanese visitors fell 10.3% to 31,168.

For the year, Chinese tourism remains down 5.6%, Hong Kong arrivals off 24%, and Taiwanese visitors off 25.6%.

The increase in Chinese visitors was offset by plunging arrivals from Russia, which has been devastated by a historic devaluation of the ruble.

Arrivals from Russian plummeted 21% in November to 181,888, compared with 230,867 the same month a year ago. The decrease followed a 23.2% drop in October. For the year, Russian arrivals have fallen 4.9% from the first 11 months of 2013 to 1.4 million.

Arrivals from the rest of the Eastern European region also fell, by 17.4% for November to 29,588. For the year, however, they remain up 8.5% to 321,146.

Arrivals from the Asean region also remain down 11.4% for the year, but were virtually flat in October at 243,547.

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