The Thai tourism market, which declined slightly in 2009, performed well during the review period. The country recorded an increase in number of visitors, both domestic and international, as well as an increase in expenditure by tourists.
Economic growth and promotional activities by the tourism authority supported this growth. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), in 2012, tourism contributed 16.7% to the country's GDP, and accounted for 12.4% of the total employment.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) launched several campaigns such as 'Amazing Thailand', 'Beautiful Thailand' and 'Unseen in Thailand' to attract international and domestic tourists.
Thailand is considered an attractive tourism destination, renowned for its culture, history and leisure and entertainment facilities, as well as its beach and island resorts. Thailand caters to a range of tourists, from high-end luxury travellers to backpackers.
In addition to its various attractions, Thailand is widely regarded as a value-for-money destination. Online travel information portals and booking systems are emerging and their development will help to improve tourist inflows.
Thailand has been receiving increased competition ever since Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam opened up to international tourism in the 1980s and 90s. Destinations like Angkor Wat, Luang Prabang and Halong Bay now contest Thailand's former monopoly in the Indochina region. To counter this, Thailand is actively targeting niche markets such as golf holidays, or holidays combined with medical treatment.
According to a recent report, 'Travel and Tourism in Thailand to 2017,' the majority of Thailand's leading hotels or hospitality companies are situated in or operate from the country's major urban centers, principally Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son, Ayutthaya and Pattaya. In 2011-2012, Substantial growth in the number of hotels was recorded in Bangkok and the country's main destination for long-stay international tourists, Pattaya.
Chained hotels are expected to expand the number of outlets by offering management services. At the same time local brands will implement the same strategy, but not only in Thailand, also expanding into the global market.
From January to April 2013, the Tourism Authority of Thailand reported that 8,841,730 trips to Thailand were registered. Domestic tourism has also grown significantly in the past decade. Revenues from domestic tourism have gone from 187,898 million baht in 1998 to 380,417 million baht (approximately 7.8 billion Euro) in 2007.
In 2011, 1.7 million Chinese visitors travelled to Thailand and this figure was expected to rise to 2 million in 2012. The Thai-Chinese Tourism Alliance Association declared in February 2013 that Chinese tourists are the main supplier of Thailand's tourism industry and 3.3 million Chinese tourists are expected in 2013.
For more information on the Thai tourism market, see the latest research: Tourism Market Research
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