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Political Downturn As Thailand Tourism Accelerates

Political Downturn As Thailand Tourism Accelerates

This is certainly a high accolade and not to be downplayed in any way, and proves there is more to the Land of Smiles than meets the eye.

Thailand and Scandinavia have long established a firm and fruitful relationship, with 378,387 Swedish tourists visiting the Kingdom during 2007, generating somewhere in the region of 25 Billion baht in revenue.

14.4 million Foreign nationals visited Thailand in 2007 alone from over 45 different countries. The official 2008 TAT figures have yet to be released, but the mood suggests a slight decrease in tourist numbers due to the worldwide economic problems.

The downturn is clearly a widespread issue, which doesn’t represent any failings on the part of Thailand as a major tourist destination in any way. And though businesses in Pattaya, Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai have noticed a minor drop in profits, thing are still carrying on as usual and tourists continue to flock to Thailand’s four favorite tourist regions.

Mike Parry, a U.K. expatriate bar owner in Phuket stated, “The Island is still the place to be, and visitors from all over the world are visiting Phuket in droves, spending big money, and the vibrant atmosphere is still the same as ever. To be honest, we are starting to notice an influx of visitors from more diverse countries than ever before.”

The majority of tourists come from Western European nations and Australia, but over the past two years there has been a dramatic rise of visitors from the Middle-East, China, Korea and Japan. This is an ever-growing market which Emirates Airline is quickly trying to accommodate by initiating a new Airbus A380 Megajet service from Dubai to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport. Chumpol Silpa-archa, Minister of Sports and Tourism explained, “This launch reflects how much the airline expects visitors to increase to Thailand.” TAT have projected that visitors from the Middle East will rise 6.5% in 2009, and Emirates must be commended for their vigilance and vision.

All the major Airlines are also doing their utmost in combating the worldwide economic decline by providing value-for-money flights to encourage greater numbers to visit Thailand. For instance, Qantas/British Airways are beginning to offer special rates on economy tickets from Australia and the United Kingdom to Bangkok. From any major Australian city, British Airways are charging as little as 15,590bht, and 23,650bht from London for roundtrip economy tickets.

The American travel market is also receiving welcome discount prices for economy roundtrip tickets to Bangkok. Northwest and Delta Air Lines are providing tickets from American Cities such as San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, Portland, Las Vegas and San Diego for as little as 20,000bht. Salt Lake City to Bangkok economy-class tickets are being offered from 26,500bht for the roundtrip.

David Phelps, an American national who has been visiting Thailand two times every year for the past decade said, “I wasn’t going to come to Thailand on vacation this year, what with the value of the Dollar and the economic hardships. But the airlines and Thailand themselves are making so much of an effort to drop the prices and encourage tourism, I have decided to make my usual pilgrimage to this beautiful country that I love very much.”

Repeat visitors make up more than one third of the Thailand tourism trade and this is not a coincidence. The magnetic allure of the country and its wonderful inhabitants is underestimated and is the foundation of the tourist industry. Long term visitors always joke, “Nobody visits Thailand only once.” This type of repeat visitor already understands how the country works and is not so dependent on package holidays or hotel bookings.

There is a reported 30% decrease in hotel occupancy, but when you take into consideration that so many repeat visitors are favoring self-catering short-term villa rentals instead of hotel accommodation, the industry is still very healthy.

The Pattaya based holiday home rental company Thailand Holiday Homes has seen their figures rise a massive 32% in a two year period, providing a fascinating insight to the changing demographics of the tourist industry. Khun Nom, the Thai owner of Thailand Holiday Homes said, “We have many repeat clients and referrals due to the fact of giving excellent value for money, a free car for their personal use and 24 hour service. It seems that modern tourists prefer the privacy and freedom which a luxury self-catering rental villa provides.”

Whether you are a repeat visitor or a first timer, Thailand is the quintessential tropical paradise, with a colourful culture and an electric atmosphere, where people fall in love at first sight. Many tourists visit the Kingdom for a number of reasons that include beachside getaways, cultural excursions and the amazing diving conditions with beautiful coral reefs.

Many western men fall in love with the country and the petite smiling females in particular. The feeling from the Thai women is mutual as a recent survey proved. The women of the Northeastern rural province of Isaan have long been famous for marrying western men. A recent survey which covered 484 women from the Northern provinces showed that a whopping 61% suggested they would like to marry a western man, not only because his wealth, but also for the respect and faithfulness they offer women.

It doesn’t really matter what your reason for visiting Thailand is, the country has showed massive resolve in combating the current economic problems of the world and is battling against adversity. Thailand will continue to win awards and accolades for being one of the world’s favorite holiday destinations for a simple reason. People love this amazing country and the exotic allure of its culture, breathtaking scenery and the gracious attitude of its inhabitants.