THAILAND LAOS CAMBODIA VIETNAM
THAILAND 2011 – 2015
Among the reasons for the increase in tourism in the 1960s were the stable political atmosphere and the development of Bangkok as a crossroads of international air transportation. The hotel industry and retail industry both expanded rapidly due to tourist demand. It was also boosted by the presence of US soldiers who started to arrive in the 1960s for Rest and Recuperation (R&R) during the Vietnam war period. Coinciding, international mass tourism sharply increased during the same period due to the rising standard of living, more people acquiring more free time and due to improvements in technology making it possible to travel further, faster, cheaper and in greater numbers, epitomised by the Boeing 747 which first flew commercially in 1970. Thailand was one of the major players in Asia to capitalise on this then-new trend.
Tourist numbers have grown from 336,000 foreign visitors and 54,000 R&R soldiers in 1967 to over 14 million international guests visiting Thailand in 2007. The average duration of their stay in 2007 was 9.19 days, generating an estimated 547,782 million Thai baht, around 11 billion Euro. In 2007, Thailand was the 18th most visited country in the World Tourism rankings with 14.5 million visitors. France, comparable to Thailand in land area and population, led the list with nearly 82 million foreign visitors.
In 2008 Bangkok ranked 3rd behind London and New York in Euromonitor International's list of "Top City Destinations" with 10,209,900 visitors, Pattaya 23rd with 4,406,300 visitors, Phuket 31st with 3,344,700 visitors, and Chiang Mai ranked 78th place with 1,604,600 visitors.
By Heinz Duthel