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Thai Tourist Arrivals Showed Resilience Despite Political Turmoil and Global Recession in April

By on May 27, 2010 in Hotel-Tourism

International passenger arrivals to Bangkok airports decreased by 0.6% in April while international arrivals to Phuket increased by 41.4%

According to statistics collected by CB Richard Ellis from Airports of Thailand Public Company Limited (AOT), the total number of disembarking international passengers at all AOT managed airports in April 2010 was 1,318,606 compared to 1,286,119 in April 2009 a 2.5% increase.

International arrivals to Suvarnabhumi Airport decreased by 0.6% to 1,184,241 from 1,190,820 in April 2009 and represented a 14.9% decrease from April 2008 figures.

However, international arrivals to Phuket Airport continued to improve despite increasing political tensions in Bangkok. The total number of international passenger arrivals at Phuket Airport was 120,015 compared to 84,871 in April 2009 a 41.1% increase. When compared to 2008 figures, Phuket international passenger arrivals increased by 40.0%. The total number of domestic passenger arrivals at Phuket Airport in April 2010 was 146,088 compared to 145,209 in April 2009 a 0.6% increase.

According to James Pitchon, executive director at CB Richard Ellis, “the April figures were very encouraging taking into account Bangkok’s escalating political protests and the closure of many European airports due to volcanic ash. Obviously, May figures are likely to be poor. The question is will they recover and how long will it take.”

There are multiple challenges not just the damage to Thailand’s image due to the civil unrest in Bangkok. The economic weakness in Europe and the depreciation of the Euro against the Thai baht will have some effect on many of Thailand’s main feeder markets.

“Having spent most of April in Europe, my length of stay caused by airport closures, I am still convinced about the strength of Thailand’s brand as a holiday destination. Many people I met had visited Thailand and wanted to come again or were repeat visitors to Thailand. I believe that the European markets may hold up better than the many of Thailand’s Asian feeder markets. The Thai brand had suffered from multiple setbacks from the 2006 coup to the tragic events in May this year. I think the brand is battered and bruised, it is down but not out.”

Aliwassa has been the Managing Director οf CBRE Thailand for a number of years. As a Thai national, Aliwassa is extremely knowledgeable about the sale of property in Thailand, specifically large scale high value condominium developments largely in Bangkok.

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