BANGKOK– The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) announced that tourism is back in full swing in destinations throughout the kingdom with all tourism-related businesses and services resuming normal operations following the lifting of the nationwide curfew as of last Friday.
The revoking of the curfew by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), currently overseeing Thailand’s administration, came after the Council gradually lifted the curfew in major Thai tourist destinations over the last two weeks, thus demonstrating the Council’s commitment to promote Thailand’s tourism on top of its key agenda to promote national reconciliation and reforms.
Mr. Thawatchai Arunyik, Governor of TAT, said, “This is indeed great news for everyone, for the tourists as well as for local tourism operators and hotels, and we cannot help but to keep telling the world that it’s always business as usual in Thailand and that tourism has not been disrupted by the political situation.”
The Governor’s statement is backed by the official statistics from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, which showed major airports outside of Bangkok recording healthy growth in the number of international tourist arrivals during January-May 2014, when compared to the same period in 2013.
During the five-month period, the number of international tourist arrivals at Chiang Mai International Airport jumped 77.61 per cent to 247,607 travellers, at Krabi Airport increased 57.20 per cent to 175,753 travellers and at Phuket International Airport up 5.69 per cent to 1,440,091 travellers. Samui Airport enjoyed a record 257.11 per cent growth to 85,678 travellers.
During January-May 2014, Thailand welcomed a total of 10.36 million tourist arrivals. Europe showed the strongest growth of 7.55 per cent totalling 3.09 million, largest source markets including Russia (+10.34%), United Kingdom (+7.02%), France (+8.76%). Moreover, Finland, Italy, Spain, East Europe enjoyed the growth of around 15 per cent.
For the whole year of 2014, TAT expects the country to welcome 25.6 tourist arrivals, with 1.23 trillion Baht revenue (38.4 billion USD).
TAT also kicks started the annual Amazing Thailand Grand Sale, being held from 15 June to 30 September, 2014. The activity is joined by more than 15,000 shopping malls, department stores, brand-name outlets, and restaurants in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Hat Yai, Pattaya, Hua Hin and Ko Samui in offering special deals and bargains for tourists.
Mr. Thawatchai said,“At the end of July, we are planning to organise the Thailand Best Friends Forever Mega Fam Trip for media, travel agents, and Friends of Thailand from overseas to see first-hand the real “business as usual” scene in Thailand.”