Thailand nearer to Top 10 spot on UN travel list
KUALA LUMPUR, May 14 — Thailand moved up a spot in the global travel destination rankings and is now 11th, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
The Thai Tourism Authority is optimistic that Thailand break into the world’s top 10 travel list based on this year’s tourism revenue.
Thailand outperformed its regional neighbours, with Malaysia at 14th place and Singapore at 15th.
Thailand also appears well-positioned to take over the 10th place currently held by Hong Kong, which out-earned its Asean contender by less than US$1 billion (RM3 billion) in tourism revenue last year.
These two countries — together with the US, Spain, France — were the only ones with tourism revenue increases of more than US$5 billion.
Thailand earned US$6 billion more in 2011, chalking new records with a tourism revenue of US$26.3 billion.
The nation has also seen international tourist arrivals climb almost 20 per cent to hit 19.1 million last year, said its Tourism Ministry.
The northern Thai city of Chiang Mai is the second most popular Asian destination, according to this month’s poll by popular travel website Trip Advisor.
Thailand’s success comes on the back of a global tourism industry bouncing back from the 2008-2009 economic crisis.
UNWTO said that the global tourism receipts went beyond US$1 trillion last year, a marked improvement from 2010’s US $928 billion.
The global tourism market is dominated by Europe with a 45 per cent share (US$463 billion), and with Asia Pacific taking 28 per cent, followed by in the Americas (19 per cent), the Middle East (four per cent) and three per cent in Africa.