ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Global economy is tourism worry
The unit, a cooperative venture between the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) private businesses, believes local political tensions that hurt tourism in the first half of 2010 will ease next year.
However, the stronger baht would continue to be a concern, said TAT governor Surapol Svetaseni. Therefore, the TAT will focus on attracting travelers from fast-rising markets such as China, India and Indonesia.
"Thailand has an advantage in location [relative to these] three countries. We will see significant growth in these markets," said Mr. Surapol.
"Although the growth from main markets such as Europe will be on par with this year, the growth of emerging markets will help to lift the figure of overall international tourist arrivals next year."
The TAT now estimates international arrivals to Thailand for this year at 15.7 million with revenue of 580 billion baht, compared to the previous projection of 14.5 million with revenue of 530 billion baht. The figures represent an impressive turnaround for an industry that was expecting a dismal year after the political unrest and violence of April and May.
Consequently, the TAT plans to revise its 2011 forecast upward to 16.4 million foreign visitors with 625 billion baht in revenue, up from 15.5 million and 600 billion baht.
Juthaporn Rerngronasa, a deputy TAT governor for international marketing for Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Americas, said the European market would definitely slow down, mainly because of the public debt and financial crises affecting several countries.
However, the agency hopes to maintain the revenue generated from the region, estimated at 40 billion baht this year.
Asia now accounts for 50-60 percent of international arrivals to Thailand, Europe 28 percent and other regions the rest. By revenue, however, Europe contributes around 40 percent and Asia 35 percent.
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