Europe is Thailand's important foreign tourist market because a large number of European tourists tends to visit Thailand during the final quarter of every year. In addition, they typically take long vocations here and help generate substantial income for travel-related businesses.
KResearch views that the number of European tourist arrivals to Thailand during the remainder of 2019 will likely be on the same par as in 2018. Although the number of Russian tourists visiting Thailand will grow slightly over the contraction seen early this year and there is growth seen in the number of tourist arrivals from several Eastern European countries, which are not Thailand's key foreign tourist markets, we expect that the number of foreign tourist arrivals from other major European markets, such as the UK, will decline as its economy is being pressured by Brexit while the number of Scandinavian tourists holidaying in Thailand will drop, as well.
For 2019, it is expected that the number of European tourist arrivals to Thailand will not revert to growth after the Ministry of Tourism and Sports reported that the number of European holiday makers contracted 1.9 percent YoY to 4.4 million during 8M19, led by those from our major markets, such as Russia, Germany, Sweden and France. The shrinkage is attributable to a number of factors, such as their slowing economies, the appreciating Baht against the EURO and other currencies, which has affected their decision to choose holiday destinations. In addition, many European countries are experiencing severe weather conditions, making it more difficult for them to travel. European tourists may travel to other new destinations, as well.
Given this, KResearch projects that the number of European tourist arrivals to Thailand may contract approximately 1.5 percent YoY to 6.66 million in 2019. Their spending in Thailand may reach around THB468 billion, shrinking 1.0 percent YoY, because of the decline in the number of overnight stays and depreciation of many European currencies against the Baht, which have forced them to align their travel plans with the budgets, especially during the high season in which travel expenditures are higher than the low season.