Tourist Arrivals to Thailand by Nationality in 2016
The number of tourist arrivals in Thailand, with some hiccups, is steadily increasing over the last two decades. Arrivals increased from 10,8 million in 2002 to 14,5 million and 2007, and more than doubled in a decade to 22,35 million in 2012. In 2013 arrivals jumped to 26,55 million, while 2014 saw a decrease in visitors to 24.78 million. 2015 saw another leap in arrivals up to 29,88 million visitors. After the 5 million+ increase in 2015, 2016 saw further, but less prominent increase in arrivals to 32,58 million.
From 2012 onwards, China has been taking the top spot as far as providing tourists to Thailand, now way ahead of Malaysia.
Japan, South Korea, and India provide more than a million visitors to Thailand each year. Russia did so in 2014, but not in 2015. However, in 2016 arrivals from Russia again passed the 1 million mark.
As in earlier times, Thailand receives still more visitors from the United Kingdom than from the U.S.A. despite comparable distances to the country.
Changes from 2015 to 2016 :
Except for China, no 'dramatic' events occurred. Most regions and countries provided more visitors inline with the overall increase in arrivals (+8.91%)
Asean : from 7,92 to 8,66 million. Here visitors from Myanmar (+31.5%) and Cambodia (+27.6%) saw the largest increase.
East Asia : from 11,99 to 13,01 million (+8.5%). The bulk of arrivals here was from China with arrivals increasing from 7,94 to 8,76 million (+10.34%)
Europe : from 5,63 to 6,17 million (+9.57%). Here the most prominent increase was by Russia with visitors increasing from 884 thousand to 1,09 million (+23.28%)
Americas : from 1,24 to 1,41 million (+13.77%)
South Asia : from 1,40 to 1,52 million (+8.45%)
Oceania : from 922 thousand to 906 thousand (-1.86%)
Middle East : from 658 thousand to 747 thousand (+13.50%)
Africa : from 162 thousand to 172 thousand (+6.17%)
The number of arrivals from China saw an interesting phenomenon. At the end of 2016, the Thai government initiated a crack-down on so-calles zero-dollar tours. These tours ship visitors into Thailand at very cheap rates. However, customers are then enticed to go shopping at affiliated businesses, often at inflated prices. This likely creates hardship for a number of tourists. The influence on the number of arrivals to Thailand from China is clear. While during the first 9 months of the year the arrivals were steadily increasing (from the previous year) by between 50,000 and 200,000 a months, the latter 3 months saw a clear reversal. Hopefully, this will be reversed again during 2017.