During this Songkran festival, everyone hopes for a peaceful situation that will allow them to arrange pleasant festivities across the country, as seen every year (except for 2009-2010). This year, Bangkok and other tourist attractions in all regions (except Southern Thailand) will launch activities to celebrate this festival, focusing on continuing our culture and adding enjoyment without alcoholic consumption amid a more stable political situation. In addition, relevant government agencies have upgraded Songkran festivity to the status of a national event with well-organized public relations plans to reach Thai and foreign audiences.
KResearch expects that the number of foreign travelers entering Thailand may grow 7 percent during 1Q11 and increase around 20 percent in 2Q11 if no further unrest is seen as during 2009-2010. Meanwhile, there were 3.6 million foreign travelers visiting Thailand during 2M11, growing 11.7 percent (primary estimated by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and excluded overnight stays on border passes), against the 33.7-percent growth in 2M10 YoY due to a low base in 2M09 showing a contraction of 17.5 percent.
This growth stems from Thailand regaining Asian tourists' confidence toward personal safety after a drop in this foreign tourist segment during recent years. Although the disaster in Japan on March 11, 2011, will likely dampen the number of Japanese tourists coming to Thailand over the remainder of 2011, there are many positive factors, such as cooperation between the government and private sectors toward stimulating arrivals from other potential tourism markets, so we may see an increase in foreign tourists coming here, thus compensating for the contractions from some other tourism markets. This should support the Thai tourism industry over the remainder of 2011 as we return to normalcy. Therefore, Thailand's foreign tourism business may increase 7 percent YoY, with 17 million foreign tourist arrivals expected.