By SUCHAT SRITAMA
Bangkok welcomed more tourists than any other Thai destination during the year-end season, but hotels in Chiang Mai enjoyed the highest occupancy rate, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
Sugree Sithivanich, deputy governor for marketing com¬munications at TAT, said the top 10 provinces in terms of visitor numbers, both foreign and local, during the New Year break (December 31 to January 5) were Bangkok, Phuket, Chon Buri, Kanchanaburi, Nakhon Ratchasima, Songkhla, Chiang Mai, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Surat Thani, and Sukhothai, in that order.
According to TAT, Bangkok received 427,889 visitors. The average hotel occupancy rate in the capital was 90.09 per cent. Tourists generated income of Bt5.4 billion during the period.Phuket was the second-most-popular destination. The province welcomed 247,505 visitors, and its hotels and resorts saw an occupancy rate of 89.56 per cent. The hospi¬tality business gained income of Bt4.7 billion.
Third most popular was Chon Buri, with 152,009 visitors. They spent about Bt1.2 billion in the province. Hotels reported an average occupancy rate of 80.73 per cent.
Kanchanaburi was next, welcoming 145,992 visitors who brought in income of Bt372 million, while hotels enjoyed an occupancy rate of 80.55 per cent.
Hotels in Nakhon Ratchasima reported a rate of 82.68 per cent, from a total of 130,131 visitors. Travel businesses in the province raked in Bt268 million.
Songkhla in the South saw 128,292 visitors, while the average hotel occupancy rate was 85.16 per cent and overall revenue Bt909 million.
Chiang Mai in the North saw total arrivals of 102,964, generating income of Bt774 million. The average hotel occupancy rate in Chiang Mai was the highest among the top 10 provinces at 95.1 per cent.
Prachuap Khiri Khan attracted 89,011 visitors. Hotels reported an occupancy rate of 75.5 per cent and overall revenue was recorded at Bt554 million.
Surat Thani province reported 87,245 visitors, with 75.29-per-cent hotel occupancy. The province earned about Bt1.2 billion from tourists.
Sukhothai welcomed 85,686 arrivals. Hotels there ran at about 58-per-cent occupancy, and tourism income was Bt139 million.
Though local and foreign tourists spent Bt22 billion during the 5-day holiday period, it did not boost the overall picture of the tourism industry. According to TAT, the number of visitors to Thailand fell by 6.6 per cent in 2014, due mainly to political tensions and the Russian rouble crisis.
Some 24.7 million tourists visited Thailand in 2014 compared to 26.7million in 2013, official figures showed. The drop in tourist numbers also resulted in 5.8 per cent lessrevenue, according to Minister of Tourism and Sports Kobkarn Wattanavarangkul.