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HOME // National News // Pattaya pips Phuket with tourist numbers, but there’s more to it

Pattaya pips Phuket with tourist numbers, but there’s more to it

Tourists visiting Grand Palace in Bangkok
PHOTO: Tourists visiting Grand Palace in Bangkok - Bloomberg

Thailand’s tourism landscape in March 2024 showss Bangkok as the leading destination for both domestic and foreign travellers. That’s according to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports. But a closer look at the numbers unveils a discrepancy in preferences between locals and international visitors.

Bangkok maintained its position at the top with 4,459,579 visitors, among which 49.6% were international tourists. The occupancy rate for hotels in the capital stood at 76.3%.

Following Bangkok, Chon Buri, known best for its resort city of Pattaya, secured the second spot with 1,892,712 visitors, of which 49.9% were international tourists. Hotel occupancy in Chon Buri reached 76.7%. (But Chon Buri, particularly for locals, is a LOT more than just Pattaya).

Despite being a popular destination, Phuket saw a decline in visitors, hosting only 1,171,189 travelers, 78.8% of whom were international tourists. However, the province’s hotels reported a high occupancy rate of 86.4%.

Prachuap Khiri Khan rounded off the top five with 979,818 visitors, including 6.1% international tourists, and an occupancy rate of 72.8%.

Conversely, the least visited provinces were Amnat Charoen and Nong Bua Lamphu, followed by Mahasarakham, Pattani and Yasothon (home of the Yasothon Rocket Festival which is on Friday May 10 – Sunday May 12).

Both China Buri (Pattaya) and Prachuap Khiri Khan (Hua Hin) are perennial favourites with Bangkok locals looking for a quick escape within 2 – 3 hours drive from the capital.

So, as far and international tourists are concerned, the number of foreigners visiting Phuket and Pattaya  (well, Chon Buri) are about the same. Whereas locals much prefer Chon Buri to the island of Phuket.

Overall, Thailand welcomed 29,151,310 visitors in March 2024, marking a growth of 12.15% compared to the previous year. International tourists contributed approximately 583.902 billion baht in revenue.

The top nationalities visiting Thailand in the first four months of 2024 were Chinese (2,351,909), Malaysian (1,569,856), Russian (767,210), South Korean (679,481), and Indian (643,587).

Chinese tourists pip Malaysians as the leading nationality, a shift from the previous year where Malaysians held the top spot. There is a large number of Malaysians who cross the southern border for business and short tourist trips.

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