In spite of the political turmoil in Thailand, foreign tourist arrivals increased in 2010 by almost 14% from January through June: 7,515,025 arrivals.
Where are the visitors coming from? East Asia visitors totaled 3,670,667, almost 49% of all visitors, with Europe second at 2,279,937 visitors, South Asia third with 446,935 and the Americas fourth with 431,381.
East Asia was lead by Malaysia (930,660), Japan (475,386) and China (471,462).
Europe was headed by The UK (412,035), Germany (320,368) and Russia (305,415).
Almost 70% of visitors from The Americas came from the United States- 310,454. South Asia was dominated by India with 344,063.
The fastest growing region is the Middle East- 261,657 visitors for an increase of 22.10%.
Bangkok is home to significant business interests from Japan and Germany; the number of visitors from these countries is not surprising based on the companies with major workforces and a long history of business in Thailand. Phuket has become a destination for Russian visitors, many signs there- namely for real estate- are in Thai, English and Russian.
Malaysia borders Thailand, KL is only a two-hour flight, very easy for a weekend visit; deals on flights and hotel rooms have likely increased visitors.
North America is a long flight- but still a bit surprising the number of visitors is not higher. The lower number could be due to businesses in North America providing fewer days of vacation than companies from Europe.
Interesting to cross-reference the visitors with the financial crises, established middle class in countries, ability to take extended holidays and disposable income. The rise in visitors from Russia and the Middle East could show the increase in disposable income while the visitors from Japan and Germany point to the stability of a strong middle class that has the means to continue travelling during challenging time.
China is very close to Thailand, almost 50% of Thai people are of Chinese decent, their economy has been booming and the population is massive, yet visitors from Japan outpaced China. Completely missing from the numbers are the East Asia countries that border Thailand: Cambodia, Lao and Burma and near neighbor Vietnam; the lack of disposable income for the majority of the population inhibits their ability for vacation and travel.