Thailand in November welcomed its 25th million visitor for the year so far, and a major research house is forecasting total tourist arrivals for 2015 will reach over 30 million. At the same time the kingdom’s national flag carrier Thai Airways International, in announcing its third quarter 2015 operating results, said it carried 5.15 million passengers in the quarter.
For Thai Airways International or THAI the figure represents an increase of 8.8 per cent compared to the same period last year.
According to preliminary figures from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Thailand saw 24.36 million visitors in the first 10 months of 2015, representing a 24.75 per cent year-on-year rise and raising hopes that arrivals will significantly exceed the 28 million mark identified in Tourism Authority of Thailand forecasts and targets. The ministry is projecting 28.8 million international tourists for the year.
Kasikorn Research Centre’s estimate of 30.19 million arrivals for 2015 would make for a 21.7 per cent increase over 2014. The research house is a subsidiary company of Kasikorn Bank and conducts tourism and business research mainly on Thailand’s economy.
Thailand attracted 24.80 million visitors in 2014, a drop of 6.54 per cent from 2013’s 26.54 million visitors. 2014’s lower performance was blamed on the military coup in May.
The bounce back in visitor arrivals in 2015 comes despite a deadly bombing in central Bangkok in mid August that threatened to scuttle the kingdom’s economically vital tourism industry.
Thailand’s 25th million visitor for 2015 arrived at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport to a special greeting ceremony jointly organized by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Airports of Thailand, the Immigration Bureau, True Corporation and Thai Airways International.
Suvarnabumi Airport is THAI’s home base, from where the carrier flies to more than 60 destinations around the world, including 48 points in 19 countries in the Asia Pacific region, 11 cities in Europe and two in the Middle East. Domestically within Thailand, THAI and subsidiary THAI Smile operate to 10 points in the North, Northeast and South including the major tourist destinations of Chiang Mai, Phuket, Krabi and Samui.
Travellers planning a trip to the kingdom can book international flights to Thailand through the carrier’s website, as well as book flights from Bangkok to domestic destinations.
The 25th million visitor, a gentleman from Scotland, was given a ‘Thailand’s Luckiest Visitor’ certificate, two economy-class return tickets from and to Thailand valid for a year, a voucher for five nights luxury accommodation and a mobile phone with 4G sim-card and seven days internet usage.
The ‘Thailand’s Luckiest Visitor’ greeting events are part of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s ‘Discover Thainess’ tourism marketing campaign for 2015, which promotes the diversity of destinations in Thailand, the flavours of Thai cuisine, the unique culture and traditions and the friendly character of the Thai people.
Through to the end of 2015, THAI has Discover Thailand Fares for foreign tourists wanting to visit different places in Thailand. They are available for ticketing and travel completion by 31 December 2015, and have a maximum stay period of three months.
Based on a coupon system for use on THAI domestic services, these fares are available to residents of a country other than Thailand and in conjunction with international travel originating and terminating outside of Thailand (not necessarily on the Thai flag carrier).
A maximum of eight coupons and minimum three coupons can be purchased, priced at US$280 for the first three coupons and US$94 for each additional coupon.
A founding member of the Star Alliance network, THAI was recently named ‘Best South-East Asian Airline’ at the 2015 TTG Travel Awards. It was the latest in a series of international accolades the Thai airline has received this year, including Third Best Cabin Service, Fifth Best Business Class and Sixth Best Airline Overall Worldwide in Smart Travel Asia’s Best in Travel Poll awards and ‘Best International Airline of the Year 2015’ in the Today’s Traveller 9th Annual Awards.
The Skytrax World Airline Awards 2015 placed the carrier’s Royal Orchid Spa at Suvarnabhumi Airport first in the ‘World’s Best Airline Lounges Spa Facility’ ranking. Royal First Class and Royal Silk Class passengers on THAI can enjoy relaxing spa services and treatments before a longhaul flight from Bangkok to Copenhagen or flight from Bangkok to London, for example.