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16 Dec 2005


Tourism Outlook, 2006: Tourist Arrivals to Reach 12.4 Million


Tourism in 2005 was severely affected by the Tsunami disaster that pounded the Andaman coast in late 2004, and numerous other negative factors, i.e., the Southern unrest, a series of earthquakes and spikes in oil prices. As a result, tourist arrivals saw a serious setback in January of this year. This was particularly true in the short-haul tourist market of East Asia that was dealt a severe blow by the Tsunami tragedy.

However, the situation for the foreign tourist market has been improving during the remainder of 2005, thanks to cooperation between private and public agencies to promote this market through the launch of activities to attract a greater number of overseas visitors. Still, the market has been affected somewhat by a lack of confidence among tourists because of the Southern unrest, which was compounded by earthquakes. Overall, foreign tourist arrivals are expected to have dropped slightly to 11.44 million, down 1.8 percent, over-year, generating around THB400 billion in tourism-related income to the country, an increase of 4.1 percent over the same period of last year.

Looking ahead into the year to come, Kasikorn Research Center (KResearch) expects that the overseas tourist market will likely grow on the back of rapid expansion from key tourist markets in East Asia. International tourist arrivals, next year, are expected to top some 12.4 million, a year-on-year increase of 8 percent, thus generating some THB468 billion in tourism-related revenue to the country.