International Travel to Thailand Increased in First 2 Months of 2006

BANGKOK (Tourism Authority of Thailand) - Foreign tourist arrivals to Thailand in the months of January and February this year rose significantly over the same period of 2005, according to statistics compiled by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). The total of 1,734,508 arrivals at Bangkok International Airport in the two months was a 33.97% increase. 

This increase is higher than the same period in 2005 and 2004 and is a sign that travel to Thailand is returning to normal growth after the country suffered through the aftereffects of the 2004 tsunami and other adverse circumstances. The top 5 countries coming into Thailand via the airport were Japan, South Korea, China, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It is estimated that about 2.34 million visitors entered Thailand during January-February 2006 through all air, sea and land entry points.

The markets expected by TAT to have good growth during the course of 2006 are China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Russia, the U.K., Sweden, and India. However, the ongoing political demonstrations in the country in March are beginning to impact travel from certain markets, particularly China and Singapore where travel cancellations have been reported by airlines and tour operators. Of these markets, Singapore appears to be the most susceptible to the charged political climate as protests in front of the Singaporean Embassy have contributed to the cancellations. Some Thai companies have reported cancellations by Chinese travellers coming to Thailand in April, while travel by Japanese tourists appears to be slowing down as they wait for the political situation in Thailand to unfold.

Meanwhile, the European and American markets are not affected as they regard political demonstrations a normal occurrence of a democratic country.

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