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New Zealanders Lead Thailand Tourism Resurgence

29 June 2005

New Zealanders Lead Thailand Tourism Resurgence

New Zealand travellers are proving hardier than their international counterparts as the number of New Zealanders heading to Thailand continues to grow, despite a major downturn in total tourist numbers travelling to the Southeast Asian nation, especially to coastal resorts such as Phuket and Krabi.

Six months since the tragic events of the Boxing Day Tsunami, the number of New Zealanders travelling to Thailand continues to exceed expectations.

According to New Zealand departure card information, the number of New Zealanders travelling to Thailand increased by 12 percent in the first quarter of 2005, compared with the same period last year. This is in marked contrast to an overall drop in tourist numbers of more than 10 percent in the same period, as tracked by the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

After visiting Thailand earlier this month, Flight Centre Asia product manager Liz Johnston said many hotels were still looking to Australia and New Zealand to bring numbers up for the year, after a massive downturn in Northern hemisphere tourists in the months following the Tsunami.

“But while more kiwis than ever are exploring Thailand, we don’t make up a huge percentage of the overall visitor numbers, and other markets such as Europe haven’t bounced back as fast.”

Despite the downturn in overall numbers, there were still places such as east coast island Koh Samui and the inland Chiang Mai region that were enjoying strong tourism growth, with Koh Samui almost booked out for the next two months.

Ms Johnston said there were many special deals to be had in resorts along Thailand’s West Coast, which New Zealanders were starting to make the most of.

“The Thai people I met are extremely thankful to New Zealand for the support, and most hope our resilient attitude towards travel begins to spread – and soon.”


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