Tourist Arrivals to Thailand by Nationality
The plan of the government as expressed by prime minister Prayut on 11 October 2021, it to open the country from 1 November 2021 for tourists from a selected number of countries. Apparently people from 10 countries will be allowed into the country. They include people from U.S.A., United Kingdom, China, Germany and Singapore (to be updated later). Entry for visitors is conditional : only fully vaccinated persons, and a negative test for Covid before departure. Also on arrival or soon after a test fro Covid will be arranged. Visitors would otherwise be allowed to travel around the country (although we think some regions may be off-limit, if there are a lot of local Covid infection). Most importantly, there are no requirements for quarantine on arrival, as has been the case up to now, for the limited number of allowed visitors to the country.
Tourism Statistics :
The number of tourist arrivals in Thailand, with some hiccups, has steadily increased over the last two decades. As recent as 2010 there were only 15.94 million visitors to the country. By 2015 this had increased substantially (almost doubled) to 29.92 million visitors. Now in 2019 the number thas increased to 39.8 million visitors. It was a modest increase by 4.24 % from the previous year. For the future, we have to observe the effect of the corona virus infection, but 2020 is projected to become a difficult year for Thai tourism.
Over the past decade, Thai tourism numbers have increased mainly because of the increase of Chinese and other Asian visitors.As seen in the graph below, most visitors come from East Asia (with China providing the bulk) and the ASEAN countries. Europe has been providing a rather steady number of visitors, while the other continents have more limited number of visitors (though the Indian subcontinent looks promising the last few years).
From 2012 onwards, China has been taking the top spot as far as providing tourists to Thailand, now way ahead of Malaysia in second place. As seen below, close to 11 million Chinese visitors arrived in 2019, which was 27.6 % of the total. This number can be predicted to be lower in 2020 due to the Corona virus epidemic.
Japan, South Korea, and India provide close to 2 million visitors to Thailand each year. Among the European countries, Russia in the last decade has become most important, with in 2019 close to 1.5 million visitors. You will note that there are a lot of visitors from Laos and Cambodia, in view of the smaller population of these countries. We do not have clear data about how tourists from these countries are counted. It is hardly possible though that almost two million Laotians travel around Thailand, enjoying the sites of Bangkok and Phuket. Likely a lot of border crossings for just a day, and some local business trips are included.
Changes from 2015 to 2019 :
Arbitrarily we have included some data on the increase (decrease) of visitors from the most important countries to Thailand, between 2015 and 2019. This may maybe allow to see some trends of what may happen in the future.
For all countries, the increase in visitors was 32.30% in the 4 years between 2015 and 2019. Most Asian countries seem to provide similar increases in visitors. However it is clear that there is a substantial rise in visitors from India, from about 1 million to 2 million visitors, and for local residents, it is clearly visible on Bangkok's streets. As mentioned before, China provides in 2019 close to 11 million visitors. However the last few years, the increase in number of Chinese visitors luckily has not further exploded, and is just a few percentage points above the average increase in visitors.
Russia is also still a growing market.This in stark contrast with most other European countries. U.K., Germany and France show only modest increases in visitors to Thailand. The last few years saw also some more American visitors than before.
Interestingly, the number of Australians visiting Thailand has decreased somewhat over the past 4 years (-4.63 %), and also the number of visitors from Singapore is not rising anymore (-1.67 %). Sorry, we were not able to put these last two numbers clearly on the chart above.
We expect important decreases in visitors during the first half of 2020. Thereafter, we expect much effort to re-attract visitors to Thailand, with special emphasis on Chinese visitors (the larget supplier of tourists) and Indian visitors (promising for the future).
Source : Ministry of Tourism and Sports (latest updates often only available at Thai language section)