Tours pick up in September

Tours pick up in September

Association of Thai Travel Agents reports client-arrivals at Suvarnabhumi Airport increased in September by 6.77%, up from 118,241 during the same period last year to 126,243 trips.

The association monitors visitors, who are handled by its member companies, through the main gateway at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport.

It is viewed as an indicator of traditional travel movements, both individuals and groups, but it does not take into account independent travellers making their own arrangements online.

Asia's markets showed the biggest increases: China up by a 96.34% from 8,043 to 15,792; Japan +11.86% from 20,939 to 23,423; Singapore +85.68% from 1,187 to 2,204; Hong Kong +158.33% from 2,208 to 5,704;  India +46.82% from 8,200 to 12,039; Vietnam +21.47% from 2,040 to 2,478; Philippines +27.56% from 1,375 to 1,754 and Indonesia +19.77% from 3,490 to 4,180.

However, other Asian markets were still in decline: Korea -51.45% from 5,705 to 2,770; Taiwan -32.13% from 9,306 to 6,316 and Malaysia -39.02% from 1,448 to 883.

Supply markets in other regions continued to produce a negative performance for Thailand-based travel companies. The exceptions were: Denmark +19.80% from 409 to 490; Italy +2.58% from 1,047 to 1,074; Russia +7.85% from 3,950 to 4,260; Germany +6.39% from 5,543 to 5,897; Iran +10.76% from 4,088 to 4,528; Israel +73.48% from 132 to 229; and United of Arab Emirates +27.53% from 178 to 227.

Last year, Thailand was rocked by political unrest that flared up in September and continued unabated through to the end of 2008, culminating in a 10-day shut down of Bangkok's two international airports.

It caused unprecedented damage to the country's economy with travel companies paying a hefty price in lost business or, in some cases, forced to close operations permanently.

The country still lives in a no-man's land of unpredictable political jostling, unchecked corruption that has soiled the country's image particularly at its international airport and a serious breakdown in security at its destinations resulting in an increase in crime and scams.

Despite these factors, Atta believes the September figures could be a small sign that the tide is turning. However, to balance the picture, officials note that even with such an improvement, the month's figure was still the lowest for September in  the last 10 years.

Arrivals from January to September showed a drop of 31.02% from 1,707,726 to 1,167,818 clients handled by travel agencies. The top 10 supply markets were China, Japan, India, Russia, Korea, Taiwan, UK, Hong Kong, Germany, and Vietnam.