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Thumbs up to Thai tourism, UN names it 11th most popular destination

By on May 11, 2012 in Property News

Thailand last year moved up one place to 11th in the ranks of the world’s top destinations by international tourism receipts, according to statistics compiled by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

The country was also among five global destinations whose international tourism receipts in 2011 grew by US$5 billion or more in absolute terms, with income rising by $6.2 billion to a record $26.3 billion.

The UNWTO figures underscore Thailand’s position on the world tourism map and the growing importance of tourism and travel to the country.

Notably, Thailand’s 2011 receipts and ranking surpassed two main competitors in Southeast Asia _ Malaysia and Singapore.

Malaysia’s receipts were surprisingly stagnant from 2010 at $18.3 billion, while its ranking remained unchanged at 14th, according to the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer.

Singapore fared better with receipts of $18 billion, up from $14.1 billion a year earlier.

This raised the island republic to 15th from 18th.

Thailand’s Tourism Ministry said international arrivals last year leaped by 19.8% to 19.1 million.

Other destinations where international tourism receipts grew by $5 billion or more were the US, Spain, France and Hong Kong.

Furthermore, significant rises from a lower base were reported by Singapore, Russia, Sweden, India, South Korea and Turkey.

The world’s overall international tourism receipts exceeded $1 trillion for the first time last year, up from $928 billion in 2010, the UNWTO said.

In real terms, receipts rose by 3.8% on a 4.6% increase in global tourist arrivals.

An additional $196 billion in receipts from international passenger transport brought total exports generated by international tourism to $1.2 trillion last year.

Tourism continued to recover its losses from the crisis year of 2009 and hit new records in most destinations, with international tourist arrivals rising by 4.6% to 982 million.

UNWTO secretary-general Taleb Rifai called the results encouraging. The past two years have shown healthy demand for tourism out of many markets, though the economic recovery has been uneven.

By region, the Americas recorded the largest increase in receipts in 2011 with 5.7%, followed by Europe (+5.2%), Asia and the Pacific (+4.3%) and Africa (+2.2%). The Middle East was the only region posting a decline, down 14%.

Europe holds the largest share of global tourism receipts in absolute numbers (45%), reaching $463 billion last year.

It was followed by Asia and the Pacific (28%), the Americas (19%), the Middle East (4%) and Africa (3%).

Source : Bangkok Post 10 May 2012

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