Association of Thai Travel Agents’ member companies handled 3,322,497 international tourists at Suvarnabhumi Airport in the first nine months of this year representing a substantial improvement of 34.76% over 2,465,433 visits during the same period in 2012.ATTA released its data, Wednesday, based on fees member agencies pay to the airport to provide a meet-and-greet service for international clients. It is considered an accurate barometer for the tourism industry but is limited to travel through Bangkok.
The association reported that during the first nine months China consistently led the field with 1,211,362 trips representing an increase of 75.97% from 688,397.
ATTA president, Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn, said China was now the strongest source market for Thailand for both direct bookings and those made through tour operators. However, he cautioned members to stay on the right side of China’s new consumer law or lose business.

“We cannot see the outcome of the law yet…it is still not clear what will happen in practice so some tour companies in China are slowing down production.”

He warned that the law may mean that tour packages will be more expensive rising by around 30%.

The new tourism law includes many provisions, but the most important is Article 35 that states:

“Travel agencies are prohibited from organising tourism activities and luring tourists with unreasonably low prices, or getting illegitimate gains such as rebates by arranging shopping or providing tourism services that requires additional payments. When organising and receiving tourists, travel agencies shall not designate specific shopping places, or provide tourism services that require additional payment.”

In the ATTA charts, Russia was the second most important market, January to September, with 451,781 trips, up 52.76% from 295,750.

The next top five markets were: Japan (224,136; +56.39%); Vietnam (157,815; +12.72%); and India (149,542; -18.16%).

In September, China also posted a growth of 93.47% to 149,401 trips compared to 77,218 during the same month in 2012.

Russia in second place supplied 30,515 trips improving 126.87% from 13,450, while Japan ranked third with 27,959 increasing 32.32% from 21,080.

Taiwan in fourth place recorded 14,118 trips growing 34.13% from 10,525.

Although showing a decline of 16.76%, India ranked fifth with 13,961 trips compared to 16,773 during the same month last year.

The next top five markets in September were: South Korea (11,012; -17.29%); Vietnam (8,715; -6.70%); Hong Kong (6,587; -14.96%); Indonesia (6,264; +1.85%); and the United Kingdom (3,838; -27.76%).

Top 10 source markets for ATTA agents January to September at Suvarnabhumi Airport