Once again, we have wild forecasts for Thailand Tourism for the upcoming year, still being called Amazing Year of Miracle Thailand 2012-2013 (unless the Tourism Authority of Thailand changes it), and the numbers are hard to believe.
The Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) has come up with the bold, and totally false, prediction of 23 million foreign tourists for Thailand Tourism 2013.
The Thailand Tourism 2013 projection is based on nothing but pure speculation as the data provided by the Thai Government, to include the Thailand Department of Tourism, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, and the Tourism Authority of Thailand is faulty at best.
The Thai Government Agencies use the United Nations World Travel Organization (UNWTO) method for counting foreign tourists – anyone who arrives in Thailand and stays less than one year is a tourist. So, anyone in transit at Suvarnabhumi International Airport is a tourist, anyone who departs Thailand in order to get a visa extension and then returns, is a tourist (about 4 times per year), anyone that crosses the border into Thailand to work for a day is a tourist. But, even using the ridiculous UNWTO method for counting tourists, I still do not believe the Thailand Tourism numbers from the Thai Government. Why? If you go to the Thailand Department of Tourism web site, and try to click on the image for Tourism Statistics, nothing happens. The website where the numbers used to be posted has been broken for 2-3 months now and returns this error: ERROR SECTION03 : Connect to server If you click on the Brit flag to get English, you get a pop-up in Thai with 4 links that don’t work:
ผู้ประกอบธุรกิจนำเที่ยวที่ไม่สามารถมาชำระค่าธรรมเนียมภายในวันที่ 12 กรกฎาคม 2555 ให้ดำเนินการยื่นแบบคำร้องขอขยายเวลาการชำระค่าธรรมเนียมต่อนายทะเบียน ธุรกิจนำเที่ยว และมัคคุเทศก์กลาง หรือสาขา ภายในวันที่ 27 กรกฎาคม 2555 จึงจะสามารถขยายเวลาการชำระค่าธรรมเนียม ได้จนถึงวันที่ 10 ตุลาคม 2555 ดาวน์โหลด เอกสาร แบบคำร้องขอขยายเวลาการชำระค่าธรรมเนียม 1. ไฟล์คำร้องขอขยายเวลาชำระค่าธรรมเนียม 2. ขั้นตอนการขอยื่นขยายเวลา การให้จัดส่งสำเนากรมธรรม์ประกันอุบัติเหตุให้นักท่องเที่ยว มัคคุเทศก์ และผู้นำเที่ยว 1. ข้อปฏิบัติการจัดส่งสำเนากรมธรรม์การประกันอุบัติเหตุ 2. ตารางประกันอุบัติเหตุ สอบถามรายละเอียดเพิ่มเติมได้ที่ กรมการท่องเที่ยว Call Center 02-401-1111
Translated into English, sort of, using Google Translate:
The agency is unable to pay the fee on or before July 12, 2555 for the filing of a petition for extension of time to pay the agency fee to the Registrar. And guided by the central or branch July 27, 2555 in order to extend the time to pay. Have until October 10, 2555. Download a petition for extension of time to pay. 1 file. Request an extension of time to pay. Two. Process of an extension of time. To provide copy of insurance policy to tourists and tour guides. 1. The delivery of a copy of the insurance policy. Two. Schedule accident. For more information, visit. Department of Tourism Call Center 02-401-1111.
You could also try to get information from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, but their English website hasn’t been updated in 4 years. So, why would the Association of Thai Travel Agents believe anything that comes from the Thai Government? From the Bangkok Post, Projection: 23m tourist arrivals in 2013:
Thailand’s tourism industry is likely to grow by more than 10% next year and about 23 million foreigners are expected to visit the country in 2013, Association of Thai Travel Agents (Atta) president Sisdivachr Cheewarattanporn said on Monday.
With the Eurozone debt still rampaging across Europe, America about to fall off the fiscal cliff, and tourists more likely to visit Cambodia, Laos, or Myanmar, why does the ATTA President predict a 10% increase in Thailand Tourism?
Mr Sisdivachr said the number of Asian tourist arrivals, particularly from China, South Korea and Japan, is up 20% to 50% for November and December, 2012.
The article was published on 10 December and the ATTA President already has complete numbers for December? Tourism is not up.
From January to July this year, the number of tourists who used Atta member services also increased by 20%, the highest growth in three years. The association boasts five million members, he added.
Does anyone know any of these 5,000,000 members that use ATTA services? I sure don’t. Most folks go online and book for themselves.
The projection is based on an assumption that there will be no political violence, he said.
Yeah, they always say this so that they have an out.
The Atta president said Thailand could become the top destination in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) if the government could ensure that the political situation is stable.
Even if the Thai Government is stable, Thailand Tourism will continue to drop as Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and Malaysia tourism will continue to grow.
The government should also promote the country as a travelling hub in the region, he said.
It is already a hub – a hub to get to neighboring countries. If you read some of the comments from the article, from people scattered about Thailand, you will see that Thailand Tourism is down in Samui, Pattaya, Krabi, Phangan, and Chiang Mai:
pattaya is quiet too, people are posting photos on facebook of quiet bars and beaches, phangan the same as is krabi. You only got to look at the half empty planes coming in. Oh chaing mai is quiet too for tourist, the numbers are down and they dont spend money.
TAT should come to samui now in high season and see how empty it is, all locals moaning its the quietest year since tourism begun.
The tourists now are Asian and Russian and both groups are on cheap package tours, and both groups spend little outside those tours.
So, it isn’t just me that sees Thailand Tourism continue its free-fall. The Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Association of Thai Travel Agents need to wake up and smell the coffee. Thailand Tourism will not meet the 2013 forecast but TAT and ATTA will definitely not admit that.
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