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Drop in European Tourists is a Wake-Up Call for Thailand

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There are fewer European tourists than Chinese, but their spending works out to be $2,358 per person compared with $1,770 per Chinese visitor.

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European arrivals are on the decline in Thailand. This is serious — and sad. For what is the point of a Country blessed with powdery sand beaches chasing more tourists and getting less revenue.

The math doesn’t make sense. Thailand in the first half of this year welcomed 5.65 million Chinese tourists spending $10 billion and 3.61 million European tourist spending was $8.5 billion, figures from Thailand’s tourism ministry show, Skift.com reports.

That means there are fewer European tourists than Chinese, but their spending works out to be $2,358 per person compared with $1,770 per Chinese visitor.

No destination should be against Chinese tourists, and they certainly aren’t to blame for a fall in European arrivals to Thailand. Neither is the baht’s appreciation the only cause of the decline.

The other elephant in the room is unsustainable development. Not just concerning the environment but a thriving ecosystem of travel businesses. It’s clear Thailand is losing some luster.

Yet Thailand blames everything — Brexit, baht, trade war, and every other external factor — but itself.

Thailand must look at internal shortcomings as the kingdom celebrates 60 years of tourism next year. Signs are that it is. Tourism Authority of Thailand’s deputy governor Tanes Petsuwan, speaking at the recent World Travel Market, admitted, “We see a clear need to refresh our value proposition and expand our range of product offerings … the competition is becoming more intense.”

He also emphasized the importance of responsible tourism and that the authorities are taking “the next steps towards a sustainable Thailand.”

A wake-up call is good for Thailand, which still has lots to offer.

By Raini Hamdi, Skift Asia

 

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