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.

First, let us review the number of arrivals per region. For more elaborate coverage of this, revisit the previous page (tourist-nationalities-Thailand.asp).


Number of Tourist Arrivals in Thailand by Region of Origin

The average tourist stays 10 days in Thailand. However, this varies substantially between regions for a simple 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 permit themselves shorter trips abroad.

Average Lenght of Stay of Tourists in Thailand

How much do visitors from different countries spend per day. Interestingly this varies very little. Europeans appear to be more 'stingy', it seems. It is interesting to know, may counterintuitive, that visitors from the Indian subcontinent spend the most per day per visitor.

Staying longer (like Europeans) makes visitors stay longer outside Bangkok, where things are less expensive (except if you holiday on certain fancy resorts). So the average money spend per day, tends to go down a bit. Staying twice as long, does also not mean that you will buy twice as much souvenirs, or other shopping items.

Daily Expenditure per Tourist in Thailand by Region of Origin

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.

Total Expenditure per Tourist in Thai baht

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), they still bring in a large chunk of revenue, and surely can not be neglected.

Totalling everything below, in 2012, tourist revenue amounted to a staggering 983,928 billion Thai baht. This is more than 34 billion U.S. Dollars (exchange rate end April 2013).

[for comparison : GDP (2011) as seen by the World Bank was 345,67 Billion U.S. Dollars. Exports by Thailand in 2011 valued 266.0 billion US dollar. ]

Based on the above, one can estimate that tourism amounts to between 9 and 10 % of GDP as of 2012-2013. This is sharply up from as recent as 2008 when it amounted to 6.5 % of GDP.

In 2009 Thailand imported 807,100 barrels of oil per day * 365 * oil price (let's say 100 US Dollar per barrel makes 29,455 Billion U.S. Dollars. Granted, Thailand imports now more oil, since we are three years later, and the government policy is towards more energy consumption. Nevertheless, income from tourism seems to cover this unavoidable expense at present.

 Total Expenditure of Tourists in Thailand by Region (in Millions of Baht)

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)

Interestingly, the money spent for accomodation, is just 1,312 Thai baht per day per person. This means, that most visitors acquire accommodation in 2 and 3-star hotels, rather than in fancy resorts.

Expenditure per day by Category of Consumption for Tourists visiting Thailand

In 2012, 6.192 million visitors arrived on package tours. They spend an average of 4,854 Thai baht per day. Visitors not on package tours, the vast majority, spend somewhat less per day at 4,278 Thai baht per day. Tour groups, spend a somewhat larger amount on shopping and entertainment, while they get a cheaper hotel room (100 baht less) than non-package travelers.


Data provided by Department of Tourism, Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Thailand.