Thailand profits from booming South Korean inbound

SOUTH Korean inbound arrivals to Thailand are expected to hit 1.22 million this year, representing a 20 per cent year-on-year increase, and contributing 40 billion baht (US$1.3 billion) to the Thai economy, according to the Kasikorn Research Centre in Bangkok.

Statistics from the centre also found that more than half of South Korean arrivals to Thailand are aged between 25 to 44. Most are first-time visitors who make their own travel arrangements based on information from online sources, rather than through travel consultants.

Major destinations include Phuket, Krabi and Samui, and to a lesser extent Bangkok, Pattaya, Rayong and Chiang Mai.

According to Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports, South Korean visitor numbers jumped 30 per cent between 2010 (805,445 arrivals) and 2011.

Last year, South Korea ranked as Thailand’s fifth largest source market after Malaysia (2.47 million), China (1.76 million), Japan (1.12 million) and Russia (1.01 million).

Reporting by Chami Jotisalikorn

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