Thailand is heading for a record 35.38 million arrivals, this year, according to the latest estimate from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.
The ministry’s permanent secretary, Pongpanu Svetarundra, released details of the annual tally noting it was based on provisional figures for 1 January to 23 December.
If the ministry’s estimate prove true Thailand’s travel industry will have enjoyed an 8.77% increase year-on-year, at least on paper.
Based on the provisional total of 35.38 million this year, earnings will touch THB1.83 trillion, up 12.03% on 2016.
Critics will point out that visitor arrivals are based on an immigration checkpoint count that does not differentiate between various travel categories and purposes other than to exclude returning Thai citizens from the tally.
Of the total 35.38 million the provisional count shows 23.94 million visits were generated by 10 source markets, led by China, a market that by itself will supply a record 9.92 million visits this year.
All the top 10 markets supplied more than 1 million visits each, but only two – the UK in 10th place with 1.01 million and Russia in seventh place with 1.34 million – were outside of Asia.
The top 10 markets supplied 68% of all arrivals and enjoyed a growth of 9.91% year-on-year.
China and second placed Malaysia together tallied over 12 million arrivals represented more than 50% of all the arrivals from the top 10 markets.
Malaysia was the only market in the top 10 that suffered a decline on 2016 results. Arrivals were down by 5.50%, while revenue earned declined by 3.14%.
Provisional data for just November showed arrivals improved by a remarkable 23.18% to 3,020,863, while revenue improved 24.82% to THB159,498.79 million.