Thailand receives 7.1 million foreign visitors in January and February
The Ministry of Tourism and Sports reported last week that tourist arrivals in the first two months of the year jumped to 7.1 million people with over 3.5 million arrivals in February alone. Of those, more than 1.2 million arrivals were Chinese from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, coming for Chinese New Year in February. After the Chinese, visitors from Malaysia, Russia, Korea, Japan, Laos, France, India, Germany, and the USA had the highest number of visitors. Tourism revenues in February grew 23.78 percent to 190 billion baht while for the first two months revenues grew 17.47 percent to 380 billion baht. The Ministry reported that secondary tourism destinations saw an uptick in visitors with a total of 8.7 million visitors, both Thai and foreign bringing in 26 billion baht in revenue; Buriram, Nakhon Nayon, and Loei saw the highest numbers.
The Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Office will be proposing a high speed rail linking Don Mueang International Airport, Suvarnabhumi International Airport, and U-Tapao Airport in Chonburi to the Cabinet this week. The project, which will cost around 200 billion baht, will be pitched to investors. The track will be built along an existing route operated by the State Railway of Thailand and stop at Don Mueang, Bang Sue, Makkasan, Suvarnabhumi, Chachoengsao, Chonburi, Sri Racha, Pattaya, U-tapao and Rayong. The inner-city train travelling in Bangkok will have a slower speed of 160 km an hour and once it reaches rural areas can travel at a maximum speed of 250 km an hour. The new rail link would not only link airports but also link the three provinces in the EEC.
Exports grew 10.3 percent in February, in line with the government’s target of an 8 percent export growth target for the year. Exports grew for the twelfth straight month, in the first two months exports rose to a 7-year high of 13.8 percent with a combined value of US$40.466 billion and imports were valued at US$39.778 billion dollars with a trade surplus of US$688 million. Thailand’s top trading partners are still the United States, the European Union, and Asian countries.
Business registrations rose 11% year-on-year in February, mainly for construction, real estate and logistics services according to the Department of Business Development. Registrations in February reached 6,356, up from 5,751 year on year. Business registrations also rose in January so that registrations in the first two months reached 13,321, up 11 percent from the same period last year. The DBD expects the number of new registrations to rise to over 75,000 this year; the Commerce Ministry reported that new business registrations reached a five year high at 74,500 in 2017, up 16 percent from 64,200 in 2016.