Revenue from foreign Tourists visiting Thailand
How much money do visitors of different regions or countries spend in Thailand? Important parameters are the number of visitors per region or country, the days spent in Thailand, and the money spent per day a stay. These parameters vary somewhat widely between regions and less so within countries of one particular region.
We summarized the data per region. The reason is that there is little variation of length of stay, money spent per day, within each group. For example, the vast majority of visitors from Europe, whatever country they are coming from, spend between 2 and 3 weeks in Thailand. However, because of its size and increasing importance, the data for China are given, together with a 'Rest of East Asia' group, comprising Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
Just to get the main number on record : Inbound Tourism in Thailand, earned a total of no less than 42.544 billion U.S. Dollar (or 1.457 trillion Thai baht)!
[All data as numbers provided by Department of Tourism, Thailand]
First, let us review the number of arrivals per region. 29,923,185 tourist travelled to Thailand in 2015. On average, we can here already summarize, they spend 150 U.S. Dollar per day (or 5,142 baht per day ; exchange rate 34.25 baht for one U.S. Dollar)
The average tourist stays about nine and a half days in Thailand. However, length of stay varies substantially between regions for a tge following reasons :
1) Visitors from farther away stay longer. This makes sense, taking a 12 hour flight and then just staying a few days, is not a very rewarding experience. Europeans, Australians, Americans stay two weeks or longer.
2) Asians have much less holiday days per year than Europeans. Therefore they often can only allow themselves shorter trips abroad.
How much do visitors from different countries spend per day. Interestingly this varies very little. Europeans appear to be more 'stingy', it seems.
Staying longer (like Europeans) makes visitors stay longer outside Bangkok, where things are less expensive (except if you holiday in fancy resorts). So the average money spend per day, tends to somewhat go down. Staying twice as long, does also not mean that you will buy twice as much souvenirs, or other shopping items.
Multiplying money spent per day with the number of days in the country, provides the following data. It is quite obvious that visitors from outside the Asean (closeby) region are much more valuable in money terms. Overall, visitors from outside Asia, spend much more money in Thailand, during their travel trips to the country. There may be more and more Chinese and Indian visitors, but still, Europeans, Australians and Americans spend close to double the amount of money per visitor, mainly because they stay longer.
So we arrive at the following. If you add up all the Asian visitors, together they bring in most of the tourist revenue. However, despite the fact that the number of arrivals from Europe (except for the Russians) may start to lag relatively (in proportion to the number of arrivals from Asian countries, particularly China), they still bring in a large chunk of revenue, and surely can not be neglected.
Totalling everything below, in 2015, tourist revenue amounted to a staggering 1.457 trillion Thai baht. This is 42.544 billion U.S. Dollar (exchange rate 2015).
The data for 2012, just three prior, show revenue of 983.928 billion Thai baht or 31.657 billion U.S Dollar (exchange rate 2012).
The World Bank lists $395.3 billion as the GDP number for Thailand in 2015. So inbound tourism revenue amounts to about 8 % exactly. [actually less than we reported in earlier reviews].
Added note : Of course, Thai people also travel abroad. 6,794,327 Thais did so in 2015, spending a total of 5.839 billion U.S. Dollar (or 199.976 billion Thai baht). Outbound tourism expenditure is about equivalent to 18.5 % of inbound tourism expenditure. Just slightly more than one million Thais venture outside Asia during their travels, the rest stays within the continent.
How are the data gathered? We honestly do not know, but they have been reported for many years. We assume, this is one of the reasons, that when changing money etc. one is obliged to show identification. We can only assume that as good as feasible, all these data are tabulated somewhere, and the expenditure per tourist and per country of origin, registered. Hotels can also gather revenue data and report them (?). Nevertheless, it would be wise to consider the data gathered as an approximation. Even if there are some errors, comparison between subsequent years, remains quite valuable.
Amazingly, the Department of Tourism, can also provide data on how the money is spent (see below). Total expenditure per tourist here is 5,142 baht per day. Shopping (1251 baht), entertainment (587 baht), sightseeing (197 baht), hotels (1526 baht), food and drinks (1000 baht), transport (511 baht) make up the bulk of this expenditure.
Interestingly, the money spent for accomodation, per day per person, means that most visitors acquire accommodation in 2 and 3-star hotels, rather than in fancy resorts.
People on package tours (8,553,393 travellers), spend on average 5,835 baht per day. People not on package tours (21,369,792 individual travellers) spend on average 4,962 baht per day.
For those interested : Data for 2012
Data provided by Department of Tourism, Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Thailand.