Tourism off to strong start in May

Tourism off to strong start in May

The number of visitors to Thailand from May 1 to 13 rose by 24% year-on-year. (Photo by Narupon Hinshiranan)
The number of visitors to Thailand from May 1 to 13 rose by 24% year-on-year. (Photo by Narupon Hinshiranan)

Nearly a million tourists arrived in Thailand in the first part of May, earning the country 42.3 billion baht, Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said Friday.

The 929,433 foreign visitors constituted a rise of 24.3% year-on-year with Chinese and Malaysian tourists forming the largest visitor blocs.

Tourism-related income this month as of May 13 increased by 28% year-on-year, the minister said.

About 80% of visitors, 752,911, arrived through the country's four main airports -- Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Chiang Mai and Phuket. Arrivals rose 32.8% year-on-year.

Individually, Don Mueang saw a 69.5% increase, Chiang Mai 54.1%, Suvarnabhumi 32.2%, and Phuket airport 5.4%.

Mrs Kobkarn said that although growth was slowest in Phuket, that airport showed a positive sign for tourism in Phuket province because arrivals had dropped the previous month.

From October to May 13, 18.6 million foreigners visited Thailand. That was a gain of 15.7% year-on-year. In the same period, the country generated 905.7 billion baht from tourism, an increase of 18.3%.

Mrs Kobkarn also said that in March this year hotel occupancy rates in major tourist destinations ranged from 66-77%. She referred to rates in Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya, Chiang Mai, Krabi and Samui. Chiang Mai was on top of the occupancy rate list, followed by Bangkok.

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