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Female visitors lead surge.
Tuesday, 17th May 2005
Source : Tourism Authority of Thailand
Record increases in arrivals by women were the highlights of inbound tourism flows in 2004, according to final figures released by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

Of the total arrivals of 11.65 million in 2004, a record 4.94 million were females, up a massive 29% over 2003. By comparison, male visitors totalled 6.7 million, up by a much smaller 8.65%.

That surge also saw a significant shift in the ratio of male:female visitors to 57:43 as against the 60:40 ratio that has been the norm for several years.

Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Mrs. Juthamas Siriwan commented, "This is part of the major shift that is taking place in Thailand's image world-wide as a result of our marketing strategies focussing on spas, health, wellness, shopping and cuisine.

"As we continue these campaigns in the future, we are expecting to see further growth in female arrivals," she said.

Closely linked to the record rise in female arrivals is the equally strong growth of 22% in arrivals by both children and young people, a powerful indicator of Thailand's growing appeal as a family destination.

Children aged under 15 were up 22.5% to 546,129 while young people aged 15 to 24 were up 22.4% to 1.04 million. The increases in arrivals in these two age groups were the highest of all age categories.

In a clear reflection of Thailand's growing economy and business potential, business travellers were up 14% to 976,301 and convention delegates were up a massive 82% to 159,450.

Mrs. Juthamas said that the overall figures would have been much higher had it not been for the impact of the disturbances in South Thailand on overland arrivals from Malaysia.

Although the tsunami struck on December 26, 2004, it led to sharp declines in arrivals over the following few days and a total decline of 2.55% in total arrivals in December 2004 over December 2003.

Here is a brief breakdown in the arrival trends of 2004:

EAST ASIA:
Arrivals grew 14.07% to 7,034,024. Arrivals from China and Japan were up respectively by 24.81% and 16.52%. Female visitors from Korea were up 49.95% and from Japan, up 29.6%.

EUROPE:
Arrivals were up 15.96% to 2.6 million, with strong growth from UK, Germany, France and Sweden. Growth in female visitors was strong from Sweden and Netherlands, up respectively by 14.06% and 12.82%.

THE AMERICAS:
Arrivals were up 20.16% to 692,827. The main US market was up 21.14% to 557,098, including a 48% growth in female arrivals. Although of a small base, the South American market seems to be showing signs of revival, with arrivals from Brazil and Argentina up by 34.66% and 90.41%.

SOUTH ASIA:
Arrivals were up 19.98% to 468,316 with all markets doing well except Sri Lanka. India is well on its way to becoming a primary market with arrivals up by a solid 30.33% to 300,163, making it the region's fastest growing market. Female visitors from India were up by a huge 51% to 91,708.

OCEANIA:
Arrivals were up by 35.76% to 466,907. Female visitors from Australia were up by 63.76% to 180,663.

MIDDLE EAST:
Arrivals grew by a strong 42.03% to 289,571 with all markets showing positive growth, especially the UAE, Kuwait and Israel. Female visitors from Egypt and UAE were up by 139.76% and 102.15%.

AFRICA:
Arrivals rose by 23.23% to 82,711. After declines in 2002 and 2003, arrivals from the major producing market of South Africa were up again by 17.99% to 40,732 in 2004. Female visitors from South Africa were up by 29.89% to 21,287.
Commented Mrs. Juthamas, "Given the strong rate of growth that we have seen in the first quarter of 2005, and the strong support of the Thai government, Thailand should be well on the way to achieving its target of 13 million arrivals this year."



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