Association of Thai Travel Agents’ member companies handled 818,324 international tourists at Suvarnabhumi Airport during January to March representing a decline of 34.49% from 1,249,109 visits during the same period last year.

ATTA released its data, earlier this week, 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 Suvarnabhumi Airport.

The association president, Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn, said travel agents remained  troubled in the first quarter of this year, despite the lifting of the state of Emergency Decree last month.

“Although that was a good sign for tourism, it has not yet restored confidence in foreign tourists.”

He added: “The industry needs two to three months to see a positive trend from the market…tour agents themselves are reluctant to start marketing more aggressively, as they are afraid they will not get a good response from potential travellers.”

During the first three months, Russia led the field with 223,314 trips, a decrease of 9.70% from 247,314 visits during the same period last year.

China followed with 176,564, down 53.40% from 378,859.

The next in top five markets were: Japan (31,597; -65.94%); India (26,731; -47.70%); and South Korea (25,822; -54.16%).

In March alone, there were 261,357 foreign tourists using travel agency services representing a decline of 40.21% from 437,159 visits during the same month in 2013.

China led with 79,453 visits, a decrease of 41.99% from 136,962 visits during the same month last year.

Russia followed with 73,481 visits, declining 11.08% from 82,633 visits.

Trips from India were also down 43.24%, on 11,123 visits compared to 19,598.

Japan in fourth place recorded 8,280 visits and a decline of 73.31% from 31,027 while South Korea in fifth with 7,694 down 49.22% from 15,153.

The next top five markets in March were: France (6,336; -26.69%); Germany (6,110; -38.01%); Indonesia (4,165; -49.82%); the United Kingdom (3,923; -47.02%); and Taiwan (3,689; -73.42%).

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