China continues to be the strongest market for Thailand’s inbound tour operators according to the latest data released by the Association of Thai Travel Agents. The association’s member companies handled 2,761,415 international tourists at Suvarnabhumi Airport in the first 10 months of 2012 representing an improvement of 11.36% on 2,479,733 visits during the same period last year. ATTA released its data, late last week, based on fees member agencies pay to the airport to provide a meet-and-greet service for international clients. It is considered an accurate barometer of how the country’s traditional tour firms are performing, but is limited to travel through Bangkok. For January to October this year, China continued to be the strongest supplier for travel agencies, with 804,261 trips increasing 46.87% from 547,601 trips during the same period last year. There was a decline of 2.66% in the Russian market (second place) on 342,750 trips compared to 352,123 trips in the previous year. India ranked third and supplied 206,874 trips recording a slight decline of 2.96% on 213,181 trips last year. Japan was fourth with 167,092 trips improving 14.60% from 145,804 trips in 2011. Neighbouring Vietnam followed in fifth place with 153,397 trips increasing 39.02% from 110,339 trips. The next top five suppliers in the first 10 months were: South Korea (144,432; -20.21%); Taiwan (88,460; -35.51%); Hong Kong (85,504; +3.82%); Indonesia (68,557; +12.34%); and the United Kingdom (60,506; +6.79%). In October, ATTA confirmed an increase of 35.46% to 295,982 trips compared to 218,501 trips during the same month last year. China led the field with 93,864 trips representing an increase of 83.61% from 51,122 trips during the same month in 2011. Russia followed in second place with 44,371 trips growing 10.48% from 40,161 trips. Showing a remarkable improvement of 113.41%, Japan was in third place during October with 19,431 trips compared to 9,105 trips during the same month last year. Although declining 19.52%, India ranked fourth with 17,668 trips compared to 21,954 trips. South Korea was in fifth place with 17,456 trips, up 52.48% from 11,448 trips. The next top five markets in October were: Taiwan (10,601; 44.05%); Vietnam (9,544; +64.47%); Hong Kong (8,655; +44.49%); UK (6,761; +16.01%); and Indonesia (5,722; +7.37%).