In April, Thailand welcomed 1,659,021 international tourists, a slight increase of 6.87% over the same month last year. Most of the regions recorded growth except the Americas (-0.34%, 81,338) and Oceania (-7.72%, 79,856).
Trips from Malaysia were down 20%, Australia by 7.75%, New Zealand by 7.09% and the USA by 2.53%, although overall arrivals to Thailand improved slightly by almost 7%. Arrivals from Australia, had been robust for many months growing 16% during the first quarter and 22% at the end of 2011.
The ministry’s statistics reported Malaysian tourists, the country’s largest market dipped 22.18% to 162,360 and arrivals through overland border checkpoints, Sadao and Padang Besar, plunged 38.25% and 30% respectively.
Africa was the region with the strongest growth, 21.35% (16,435). The largest source country, South Africa declined 14.5%, but other countries posted increases of 68.92%.
Europe also posted an impressive growth of 16.9% (465,557). All identified source countries recorded growth, but arrivals from the United Kingdom dropped as much as 16.32% (73,402), while the smaller market of Ireland was down 11.17% (3,968). Arrivals from Finland and Sweden skyrocketed at 120.94% and 101.52% supplying 17,348 and 35,559 tourists respectively.
East Asia, including ASEAN countries, grew 4.39% largely due to the drop of tourists from Malaysia. The good news was arrivals from China continued to surge by 42.12% in April (196,192) and it replaced Malaysia as the top market.
There was substantial increase of 16.62% in Japanese tourists compared to April 2011 when a tsunami and earthquake in Japan virtually brought outbound travel to a standstill.
In April, Suvarnabhumi Airport welcomed 1,109,918 tourists (+10.55%) followed by Phuket Airport, 186,265 (+22.25%); Sadao Checkpoint on the Thai-Malaysian border in Songkhla province, 74,769 (-38.25%); First Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge checkpoint in Nong Khai province, 56,765 (-19.95%) and the Aranyaprathet checkpoint on the Thai-Cambodian border in Srakaew province, 43,288 (-4%).