Tourism seemed to be one of only few engines functioning well enough to drive the Thai economy during 1Q15. In fact, inbound tourism – which had experienced an upswing since the 2014 yearend, continuing into 1Q15 – has seen a historic boom with foreign tourist arrivals surging 23.5 percent to a total of 7.88 million, versus a 9.0-percent drop during 1Q14.
The low season for Thai tourism starts in the second quarter and lasts until the third; then more visitors usually arrive during the fourth quarter when the high season begins. As for 2Q15 prospects, businesses are seeking to capitalize on Songkran Festival momentum before it slows into low season performance. As a well-known festival among foreign tourists, Songkran usually generates annual income of around THB20-30 billion throughout the celebration.
Prior to and during the festival, we saw the government and various agencies implement intensive public relations campaigns to boost inbound arrivals. But to keep the momentum going, other activities are being staged, including ‘Thailand Great Grand Sale' – a promotional event spearheaded by the government in collaboration with many shopping malls nationwide – offering as much as 80-percent discounts. This event is hoped will attract Indian holidaymakers, who usually visit Thailand around that time, towards spending more.
Although tourism is again approaching a low season, the 2Q15 outlook is not exactly dim, thanks to short-haul tourists from Asian states, e.g., China, India and ASEAN, who visit Thailand regardless of the season, as do those from the Middle East who are instrumental to our medical tourism.
Considering the positive tourism climate and other favorable factors, KResearch forecasts that international arrivals will reach 6.20 million during 2Q15, growing 21.6 percent, as opposed to a 15.9-percent YoY contraction during 2Q14.
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