The data for Thailand’s latest tourist high season is in and it makes interesting reading.
Total numbers were UP 15-16% Jan -Feb 2016. (compared to the same time last year -2014/2015). November to December 2015 numbers were up 5%.
Over the last few years there’s been lot of debate about the changing demographics of tourists visiting Thailand.
Visitor numbers are obviously very important to businesses but it is also important to know what nationalities are coming each year – many restaurants in the south now have a Russian language menu for example.
I returned home at the beginning of last year after living in Thailand for 2 years and came back as a visitor myself during this last high season; The demographics at immigration control did appear to me to be different than previous years. There seemed to me to be even more Russian or possibly Eastern European visitors – whereas prior to 2011 the vast majority seemed to be Western European. Of course it may be that certain groups stand out more than others or arrive at different times. Strangely I didn’t see a large number of Chinese tourists at Suvarnabhumi.
I did see a high volume of Chinese tourists in tour groups in certain Bangkok hotels and their parked buses causing traffic congestion in Pattaya.
How many Chinese travel independently to Thailand is of course difficult to gauge visually given the large Thai-Chinese population.
I decided to see exactly what the data shows for the latest peak period. The figures shown below have been combined using the latest data supplied by the Royal Thai Immigration Police from 1st November 2015 to 29 Februrary 2016 and are exclusive to Buriram Times.
Certainly, since I first came to Thailand sixteen years ago things have changed dramatically. The change had been gradual but the last 3-5 years have seen a very dramatic change in the demographics of visitors to Thailand.
Chinese tourism has increased from a huge 4.6 Million visitors in 2013 to a whopping 7.9 Million in 2015. The last five years has seen Chinese visitor numbers increase sevenfold. They now account for three times as many as second placed neighbouring country Malayasia.
Having said all that, numbers from Western European countries have also gradually increased over the last five years. Good news for businesses whose customer base comes from this part of the world.
We’d be interested to hear your views on the demographics of visitors in the Buriram area. The area has seen a huge increase in visitor numbers over the last couple of years. Hotels are regularly fully booked during the year and there are daily flights. On my visits to Buriram I always stay in the same resort close to the bus station and I did notice quite a number of what I would consider mainstream tourists during my last stay. In the past it seems to have been mainly business visitors, long term visitors or ex-pats.
Please tell us you views: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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