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Arrivals target head north for Thailand
Jeremy Colson, Bangkok

Jeremy Colson, Bangkok  
(30th Apr 2002)

THAILAND may revise upwards its projections for total tourist arrivals for 2002 following a record-breaking start to the year.

International tourist arrivals by nationality for January and February rose 8.28 per cent over the same period last year, much more than the country had dared to hope for following the events of September 11.

The only areas from which arrivals dropped were South Asia (down 2.79 per cent to 51,799) and the Americas, down 3.93 per cent to 131,209. Even the fall from the Americas, where the drop is mainly from the USA, the reduction is considered to be surprisingly small when compared to the drop suffered by neighbouring countries.

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) director for research and statistics Mr Suwat Jutakorn, said arrivals from all other areas was significantly up, suggesting that figures for the year could exceed expectations.

"In December last year we were forecasting an increase of six per cent per annum until 2004. That would have given us 10.5 million for 2002, but we are now forecasting about 10.6 million," Mr Suwat said.

He said final figures for March were not available yet, but according to airport arrivals only, an increase of seven per cent over March 2001 could be anticipated.He is particularly keen to see how Japan will perform. That market dropped 9.15 per cent in January and February.

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