Tourist Arrivals to Thailand by Nationality 2013 and 2014
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.
Since 2013, by region, East Asia, led by China, provides the highest number of visitors. Up to 2012, the 9 countries of the ASEAN region (mostly Southeast Asian countries) topped the list. Visitors from ASEAN and East Asia seem to be consistently increasing (see graph below), while South Asia (mostly India), Europe, Oceania, Middle East and Africa provided a rather stable numble of visitors in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
From 2012 onwards, China has been taking the top spot as far as providing tourists to Thailand, ahead of Malaysia.
Japan, Russia, and South Korea, provide more than a million visitors to Thailand each year.
As in earlier times, Thailand receives still more visitors from the United Kingdom than from the whole U.S.A. despite comparable distances to the country.
End 2013 towards the middle of 2014, was a time of political upheaval in Thailand, and there were somewhat dramatic effect on the number of tourists arriving in the country. The upward trend from the previous years was broken. Overall the number of arrivals decreased by 6.65%. However some double digit decreases in arrivals were evident. Japan, South-Korea, Hong Kong, and most ASEAN countries provided much less visitors in 2014. Europeans were less affected, it seems, since visitors from France, Germany, U.K. barely changed. Russia provided a bit less visitors, but in view of the economic crisis in that country in 2014, the change is actually quite modest.
The number of Chinese visiting the country barely changed, though more about that lower on the page.
The graphs below need a bit of explaining perhaps. The blue lines represent the latest data of arrivals by month, from October 2013 to December 2014. The teak color represents the data for the corresponding months one year earlier, thus from October 2012 to December 2013.
Political demonstrations started in earnest around the end of October 2013. The Occupy Bangkok occupations of major traffic intersections started in January 2014, lasting for several weeks onwards.
Keeping in mind, that numbers of arrivals used to increase steadily for the last few years, we can see that certainly from January 2014 onwards there has been a significant decrease of overall arrivals, lasting (including) till September 2014. From October 2014 onwards, the number of arrivals is again higher than in the previous years.
There was a delay of about three months between the start of political demonstrations and a substantial decrease in visitors. There was a delay of about 4 months between the restoration of stability after the military Coup d'Etat on 22 May 2014, and a new upward trend in arrivals.
There is room for interpretation, of course, depending on one's viewpoints. We tend to think that it takes about 3 months for people to change their travel plans. Previously booked flights and hotels are not cancelled en masse, because it is too much of a hassle for most travelers to change their plans.
The patterns of the change in visitors for different countries are rather similar (we checked a few, not all separately listed here). Below here we have the graphs for China and Europe (without Russia). The Chinese pattern follows the overall pattern, with the number of arrivals shooting up towards the end of 2014 and far surpassing the arrivals then of 2013. Possibly this has also something to do with a number of high-profiled visits of the Thai Prime Minister to China, and the Chinese PM to Thailand. The Chinese seem to be confident about the development in Thailand.
Europe shows a different picture. Overall the number of arrivals hardly changed in 2014 from the year before. We think that the news of political upheavals in Thailand hardly penetrates the European consciousness. It is not on the news on a daily basis in Europe, that is for sure. Alternatively, one could argue that the Europeans are more mature or stoic regarding this issue, and do not perceive it as a reason to change their travel plans.