BANGKOK, 17 January 2018: Thailand closed 2017 with 35.38 million arrivals after December registered a record 3.5 million visits that generated an estimated THB1.9 trillion in revenue for the economy.

The tally is based on foreign arrivals logged by the Immigration Bureau at airports, land or river/sea border checkpoints, nationwide. and based on a minimum of an overnight stay.

Ministry of Tourism permanent secretary, Pongpanu Svetarundra, met with the media, Tuesday, to confirm the 2017 annual count, although provisional estimates released in mid-December already indicated visits would pass the 35 million mark.

Foreign arrivals in December increased 15.51% to reach 3,535,594 with, 2,181,686 originating in East Asia.

The other top source markets by region were Europe, South Asia, the Americas, Oceania, the Middle East and Africa,

Travel from the East Asian region grew by 21.80% due to the recovery of China’s outbound travel business.

The top 10 country markets were China, Malaysia, Korea, Laos, Japan, India, Russia, the United States, Singapore and the United Kingdom, although of them supplying in excess of 1 million arrivals each.

In addition, visitor spend generated an estimated revenue of THB191,844.75 million, an increase of 21.03%.

The top 10 earners in terms of country markets were China, Russia, Malaysia, United States, United Kingdom, Korea, Japan, Australia, India and Germany.

For the entire year, the country registered 35,381,210 foreign arrivals at immigration checkpoints, an increase of 8.77% over 2016.

Visitor related spend for the year reached THB824,042.35 million, an increase of 11.66%.

The 2018 target, according to the Tourism Council of Thailand, has been set at minimum of 37.5 million, although if the present growth rate of 8,77% is maintained the total for 2018 could reach 38.48 million.

By 2019 the country should pass the 40 million mark if the world economy remains stable and the country remains free of political crisis or natural disasters.

TTR Weekly understands the term ‘arrivals’ or ‘visits’, refers to foreigners entering the country for a variety of reasons including, residence, long-stay, business, employment, leisure trips, trade but not migration or Thai citizens resident overseas returning home for a visit.