When we hear the name of the country “Thailand”, the first thing which comes to our mind is Tourism and the variety it offers to the tourists. There are diving sites, sandy beaches, tropical islands, varied nightlife, archaeological sites, museums, hill tribes, exceptional flora and bird life, palaces, Buddhist temples and several World Heritage sites. Even Thai cooking, Buddhism and traditional Thai massage are popular ones.
The Songkran Festival and The Festival of Loy Krathong are the most famous festivals of Thailand. They garner a lot of local and tourist crowd. The Songkran festival is celebrated as the traditional New Year for the people of Thai. It is held between 13-16 April. The festival of Loy Krathong is widely celebrated throughout the country and takes place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month (November in the western calendar) in the traditional Thai lunar calendar.
There are also various less popular festivals like the “Elephant Round-up” inSurin, the “Rocket Festival” in Yasothon and the curious “Phi Ta Khon” festival in Dan Sai.
The best places for the tourists to visit in Thailand are Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket.
Bangkok being the capital city has been ranked 3rd after London and Paris by MasterCard’s Global Destination Cities Index in 2012. It is also 3rd after London and New York in the International visitor spending as of 2012.It was also ranked 5th by Euromonitor International for Top City Destinations in 2010. Also, it was given the tag of “World’s Best City” by Travel+ Leisure for consecutively for the years 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Bangkok is well-known for its shopping malls, offering an astounding variety of international and local brands. Chatuchak Weekend Market is one of the largest markets in the world, selling everything from household items to live, and sometimes endangered animals.
Pattaya is a beach resort located on the east coast of the gulf of Thailand. Thepprasit Market is the busiest and the biggest market in the city attracting the locals and tourists. It remains open on the weekends. It’s famous for pets, Thai food, clothes, shoes and electronic goods. The city also celebrates festivals like Chinese New year, Burapa Pattaya Bike Week, Pattaya International Music Festival and various others attracting the tourists.
Phuket, the largest island of Thailand has various places of attractions like Two Heroines Monument, Thalang National Museum, The Big Buddha of Phuket and various others. There are also various places for adventure like Patong Beach, Hat Karon beach and few more adventurous places.
Tourism is a major economic factor in the Kingdom of Thailand, contributing to over seven percent ( approx.) to Thailand’s GDP.
The tourist numbers have grown from 336,000 foreign visitors and 54,000 R&R soldiers in 1967 to over twenty-two million in 2012. The average duration of their stay in 2007 was 9.19 days, generating an estimated 547,782 million Thai baht, around 11 billion Euros.
In 2008, Bangkok was ranked third 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, and Phuket 31st with 3,344,700 visitors.
According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, 55% of the tourists in 2007 came from the Asia Pacific region, Japanese and Malaysians form the two biggest groups. The largest groups of Western tourists come from the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, the United States and Scandinavia. The number of tourists arriving from Russia is on the rise. Around 55% of Thailand’s tourists are return visitors. The peak period is during the Christmas and New Year holidays when Western tourists flee the cold conditions. In 2012, 2.7 million Chinese visitors traveled to Thailand.
The Thai government established a separate tourism police with offices in the major tourist areas and its own central emergency telephone number, thus, protecting the foreigners.
According to Lonely Planet, Thailand ranks second of “Best-value destinations for 2010″ after Iceland;
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is projecting that this year’s Songkran festival holiday will be generating 2.7 million domestic and foreign visitors and estimated expenditures of 11.1 billion baht, up respectively 10% and 20% over the numbers recorded in the 2012 Songkran holiday. It will be held from 12-16 April 2013.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), along with the NCC Exhibition Organisers (NEO), is to organize the Bangkok Bike 2013 during 2nd-5th May, 2013 at Hall 4, Impact Muang Thong Thani. The first exhibition in its kind in the country, designed to grab the attention of cycling tours for both local and foreign visitors. It is expected to be attended by at least 170,000 people over the 4-day period.