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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs                   13  September 2011

Thai tourism is strong

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Thailand was among the top three in the region with the strongest growth in international visitor arrivals for the first half this year, countering the contraction from disaster-hit Japan to Asia Pacific.

Thailand recorded 28 percent growth from January to June, thanks largely to the absence of political unrest, while Sri Lanka and Myanmar recorded gains of 37 percent and 29 percent, respectively, according to preliminary results from the Bangkok-based Pacific Asia Travel Association (Pata).

Of the 31 destinations in the region reporting half-year arrivals, 26 indicated positive growth, with 14 showing double-digit gains.

The destinations generated growth of 5.3 percent for the Asia-Pacific region during the first half. Even with the loss of almost 1.4 million arrivals to Japan, the region posted a year-on-year gain of more than 8 million international arrivals.

Kris Lim, director of Pata's Strategic Intelligence Centre, said the first-half growth underlined the resilience of travel and tourism in the region.

"The comparatively weaker economies of the US and Europe mean that much of this growth has come from intra-regional travel. This is possible only because of the stronger regional economies and the continued expansion of airline seat capacity."

At the current rate of growth, overall arrivals to the region will reach 433 million this year, up from 408 million last year.

The majority of Asia-Pacific destinations will once again look at record arrivals, led by South and Southeast Asia in terms of percentage growth.

While European arrivals remain a key to South Asia, Asean will gain from the fast-growing China and India outbound markets. Northeast Asia is expected to see strong gains from Asean driven by growing low-cost carrier networks.



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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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