2015 tourist arrivals just short of 30m goal

2015 tourist arrivals just short of 30m goal

Thailand managed to attract just under 30 million international visitors last year, according to final figures released by the Tourism Department.

The total of 29,881,091 foreign arrivals represented an increase of 20.4% from the 24.81 million who visited in 2014, statistics posted late Friday on the department's website showed.

Tourism authorities had been forecasting 30 million arrivals for 2015 but the target appeared to be in jeopardy after the Erawan shrine bombings in August, when 20 people including seven foreigners were killed in the heart of Bangkok. Year-on-year growth in arrivals slowed to 8% in September and stalled at 1% in October before resuming a brisk double-digit pace.

Arrivals from China soared 71% last year to 7.93 million, representing 26.5% of all international tourists. Growth from East Asia overall was 36%, helped by a strong performance from Malaysia, up 31% to 3.42 million and accounting for 11% of all visitors. Japan and Korea each accounted for 4.6% of the total with arrivals from the former up 9% and the latter up 22.3%.

European arrivals declined 8.6% overall to 5.63 million, including a 45% plunge from economically troubled Russia to 884,085. Among other large European markets, German arrivals were up 6.3% to 760,604 and UK tourists totalled 946,919, an increase of 4.3%.

Arrivals from the Americas grew 12.3% to 1.23 million, led by a strong gain of 13.6% from the United States, to 867,520 visitors.

South Asia has also become a more promising market with 13.3% growth last year. Visitor numbers from India edged above 1 million for the first time, up 14.6% from a year earlier.

However, arrivals from Oceania fell 2.3%, led by a 3.1% decline in Australian visitor numbers to 805,946. Visitor numbers from Africa declined 1.7% to 161,640, while Middle East arrivals expanded 10% to 658,129.

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