THAILAND received 10,496,789 international visitors in the first half of 2012, a 7.6-per cent increase compared to the same period in 2011, and on course to meet the 20.5-million full-year overseas arrivals target set by the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
The key contributor to growth was arrivals from China, which for the first time crossed the one-million mark during the six-month period to total 1,124,234 visitors, a 28.87-per cent jump over the first half of 2011.
Japan was the fourth largest source market (630,058, +11.47 per cent), while South Korea was the fifth (540,523, +4.88 per cent).
Arrivals from ASEAN markets such as Vietnam (+24.96 per cent), Brunei (+20.15 per cent), Cambodia (+12.32 per cent), Myanmar (+12.30 per cent), Laos (+9.16 per cent), Indonesia (+4.40 per cent) and Singapore (+4.53 per cent) registered good growth.
Even though Malaysia came in as the second largest market with 1,115,721 arrivals, this was a drop of 8.53 per cent year-on-year. The Philippines was also down (-3.44 per cent).
Russia remained the largest source market in Europe, with total arrivals of 634,312 (+12.21 per cent). The UK and Germany came in with 433,989 (+1.52 per cent) and 357,472 (+9.71 per cent) arrivals, respectively. French visitor numbers totalled 304,717 (+17.11 per cent). Arrivals from Norway, Sweden and Denmark grew by 17.59 per cent, 16.45 per cent and 14.84 per cent, respectively.
From the Americas, the US contributed 379,430 arrivals (+8.63 per cent). Canadian visitor numbers grew by 10.62 per cent to 114,678, while Brazilian arrivals grew by 23.65 per cent to 14,965.
India was the biggest source of visitors from South Asia and the sixth largest source overall, up 6.32 per cent to 504,634 arrivals. Pakistani arrivals totalled 34,809 (-2.65 per cent). Bangladeshi visitor numbers totalled 33,494 (-0.20 per cent). Arrivals from Sri Lanka grew by 20.85 per cent to 32,878.
In Oceania, arrivals from Australia and New Zealand were up 9.63 per cent to 427,096 and 8.15 per cent to 49,365, respectively.
From the Middle East, the UAE experienced a decline of 0.76 per cent. However, other Middle East source markets were up, especially Saudi Arabia (+50.51 per cent) and Kuwait (+19.97 per cent). Arrivals from Egypt were up by 22.49 per cent.