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Phuket’s tourism low season dips even further

Tourism arrivals figures fell in May, according to the latest statistics released by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports (MoTS), with tourism revenues also falling year on year. Yet total arrivals and spending during the first five months of 2019 are still slightly higher than last year.

So far, 16,717,060 tourists have visited Thailand from Jan through May, up from 16,456,470 during the same period last year (+1.58%). Meanwhile, the fifth month alone saw a decline from 2,755,059 last year to 2,726,808 (-1.03%), reported the MoTS.

The fall in arrivals in May saw a corresponding fall of 0.95% in tourism revenue to B134.56 billion during the month, down from B135.856bn last year. Although total revenue during the first five months of this year is still 0.82% higher than last year (B872,47bn, compared with B865,402bn).

Phuket International Airport saw 323,713 arrivals (9,529 Thai, 314,184 foreign) during May, along with 389,167 departures (10,600 Thai, 378,567 foreign), bringing total passengers throughout the airport to 712,880.

Among the international arrivals nationwide, tourists from Mainland China, still by far Thailand’s largest tourist source market, fell 8.55% to 794,913 in May 2019, down from 869,235 during the same month last year.

Tourism revenues from Mainland Chinese tourists during the period also fell 6.26%, from B46.613bn in Jan-May last year to B43.69bn this year.

Meanwhile, from Asia, tourists from Hong Kong rose by 2.12% to 84,897, visitors from Japan also rose 6.74%, to 116,440, while tourists from Taiwan rose 6.05% to 56,268.

Tourists from Korea, however, fell by 8.78% from the same period year on year, to 111,911.

Tourist arrivals from all of the main European markets also fell, as follows: United Kingdom -0.13% (to 61,653); France -8.19 (to 35,207); Germany -19.45% (to 36,741); Netherlands -2.72% (to 12,782); Italy -2.87% (to 9,623); Switzerland -9.35% (to 8,459); Spain -2.59% (to 7,808); and Austria -10.07% (to 4,082).

Belgium was the only European market to show a rise in tourism arrivals during the period year on year, from 4,884 last year to 4,983 this year (+2.03%).

Tourism arrivals from all the Scandinavian countries also fell for the period year on year: Sweden -6.22% (to 6,169); Denmark -14.91% (to 4,719); Finland -13.91% (to 3,082); and Norway -15.06% (to 3,689).

Arrivals from Russia also shrank 2.38% year on year, from 57,098 in May last year to 55,738 this year.

Even arrivals from Eastern Europe, where the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has pushed its promotion activities over the past 18 months, fell -0.77%, from 17,087 in May last year to 16,956 this year.

MONEY

Tourists from Japan led the spending figures in May with an increase of +8.88% during the period, from B4.729bn last year to B5.148bn this year, while visitors from Hong Kong also spent more, rising from B3,554 last year to B3.702bn this year (+4.16%).

Revenues from Korean tourists fell 7.41% (to B5.216bn), while visitors from Taiwan spent 8.17% more during the period year on year, to B2.353bn.

Tourists from the United Kingdom led the spending among the European tourism markets, rising 1.37% to B5.238bn.

However, spending by tourists from France fell 6.81% (to B2.055bn), while revenues from tourists from Germany plunged 18.25% (to B2.605bn).

Spending by tourists from the remaining major European tourism markets was as follows: Netherlands -1.27% (to B971 million); Switzerland -7.99% (to B742mn); Italy -1.41% (to B677mn); Spain -1.13% (to B508mn); Austria -8.72% (to B320mn); and Belgium +3.56% (to B341mn).

Spending by all the Scandinavian countries fell, as follows: Sweden -5.28% (to B539mn); Denmark -14.06% (to B388mn); Norway -14.21% (to B347mn); and Finland -12.62% (to B249mn).

Spending by tourists from Russia also fell in May, but by less than the corresponding fall in the number of tourists, falling 0.92% from B5.193bn last year to B5.145bn this year.

Despite a fall in the number of tourist arrivals from Eastern Europe, tourism revenues from the source market rose 0.72%, from B1.159bn last year to B1.167bn this year.

INDIA

Tourism arrivals from India, the biggest growth market for Thailand and for Phuket in particular, has continued to show strong improvement since the beginning of the year, with tourist arrivals from the subcontinent country in May rising 10.59%, from 156,462 last year to 173,033 so far this year.

Spending by Indian tourists in May also rose 12.25% year on year, from B5.715bn last year to B6.416bn this year.

In terms of spending, the revenue generated by the Indian market is now comparable to that by tourist arrivals from the US. Spending by US tourists in May this year stood at B6.347bn, up from B6,129.86 last year (+3.55%).

However, visitors from the US remain “spending strong” tourists, creating slightly more in tourism revenues compared with the Indian market despite having less than half the number of visitors visiting Thailand.

The number of tourist arrivals from the US rose 2.02% year on year for the month of May, from 81,177 last year to 82,815 this year.

Of note, the MoTS, for years, issued standard “Tourism Situation” reports for public release posted on its website and usually announced at a press conference by the ministry’s permanent secretary. Those releases and press conferences ceased in January.
The Phuket News

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