International tourist arrivals up over 8 percent in August
The Ministry of Tourism and Sports announced an 8.66 percent year on year increase for the month of August reaching 3.13 million international tourist arrivals. Revenues for the month grew 11.72 percent to 163.48 billion baht. Foreign tourists contributed .1.19 trillion baht to the Thai economy in the first 8 months of 2017, up 7.47 percent from the previous year. There were 23.54 million foreign tourists during the first 8 months, a 5.36% increase over the same period in 2016. Chinese visitors still topped at the highest number of arrivals and as spending the most. Visitors came from East Asia, Europe, South Asia, the Middle East, the Americas, Oceania and Africa in that order, while the biggest spenders after the Chinese were the Koreans, Japanese, and Malaysians. This was followed by people from the United Kingdom, Australia, the United States, Laos and Hong Kong. Domestic tourism also grew; locals made 12.33 million trips in July, a 3.46% increase over the same period last year, and contributing 76.93 billion baht in revenues. In the first 7 months of the year domestic tourists made 83.70 million trips, contributing more than 500 billion baht to the economy.
Construction started on a new modern ferry terminal in Sattahip as part of the development for the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), the new terminal will service cruises, cargo vessels and ferries linking Pattaya, Chon Buri and Rayong with other destinations, including Koh Chang and Hua Hin. The new terminal will have souvenir shops, a food court, ticket counters and boarding areas, according to the navy and is one of 13 projects the being undertaken by the navy to develop the EEC. Pattaya is expected to benefit by the development of the EEC with private companies looking to invest in the area to tap benefits to the tourism industry from the EEC development. Pattaya lies within the EEC which spans Chon Buri, Rayong and Chachoengsao provinces.
Exports rose for a sixth straight month in August, jumping 13.2 percent year on year, far better than expected and the fastest growth in 55 months. In July exports rose 10.5 percent and in the first 8 months exports grew 8.9 percent while imports grew 15.4 percent according to the Minister of Commerce. Thailand had a trade surplus in August of US$2.09 billion much higher than the $520 million surplus that had been forecast. Many of the materials imported are assembled into completed goods and then exported.