January had the highest record with 1.9 million visitors while March had the highest growth with 11.99%.
More than half of the visitors (5.4 million) were from East Asia, led by the Chinese, while Europeans were the second-largest group with 2.9 million visitors. Russians were the top visitors from Europe.
The third-largest group (632,976) was from South Asia, of which around 80% were Indians.
The Ministry of Tourism and Sports expects that the numbers of visitors will reach its target of 20.5 million visitors by the end of this year.
Meanwhile the Thailand Film Office also reported increased revenue from foreign film production in Thailand during the first six months.
It found that revenue jumped 26.47% to 1.5 billion baht from 1.2 billion baht during the same period last year.
This came from a total of 335 films, more than half of which were advertising. Other popular film categories were documentary (56 films), TV series (49), feature films (28) and music videos (18).
Japan was the leading country which used Thailand as a film location. During the first six months, 72 Japanese programmes were shot here, followed by India (64), European countries (53), South Korea and Hong Kong, both with 21 films, and the United States.
The Thailand Film Office said more foreign films will be shot here during the second half of the year, with an expected total of 600 films for 2012. Among those still to be shot this year are several food-orientated TV series, documentaries, a major Hollywood studio feature film and at least one independent film on martial arts.
Awards make a splash
AsiaSpa Magazines in Hong Kong is calling for nominations for the AsiaSpa Awards 2012. In its eighth year, the awards have 24 categories covering top spas, destinations, products and personalities.
Last year, five Thai spas received awards.
Nominations close on Aug 22 and the announcement will be made at W Hotel Hong Kong on Nov 15.
- Cebu Pacific and All Nippon Airways (ANA) plan to offer an on board wi-fi internet service in the middle of next year.
Both airlines have worked with OnAir, a joint-venture company between SITA and Airbus and founded to offer inflight connectivity solutions.
Passengers from both airlines will be able to access the internet, make calls using Voice Over IP (VoIP) applications via their wi-fi enabled devices such as Android phones and tablets, iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry and laptop computers.
Cebu Pacific also plans to launch long-haul services by the third quarter of next year. The destinations will be within an 11-hour flying range which include Australia and countries in the Middle East.
- Singapore's low cost carrier Tiger Airways will soon launch flights from the city-state to Hyderabad and Phnom Penh. Flights to Hyderabad will start on Sept 27 and will operate five times a week on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.
The new destination will be the airline's sixth Indian city after Bangalore, Chennai, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Tiruchirappalli.
The daily flights to Phnom Penh, meanwhile, will be available on Oct 1.
The service will be an alternative to the existing Phnom Penh-Singapore route of Jetstar Asia and Silk Air. Tiger Airways will add about 30 flights each month, bringing the total number of flights to about 90.
- Thai AirAsia has joined with the Ministry of Culture to sponsor air tickets for national artists, allowing them to fly across the country and Asia to showcase their talents.
At present, Thailand has 128 national artists: 66 for performing arts, 30 for literature, 25 for visuals arts and seven for architecture.
The support means each artist is eligible for a limited number of free flights for a year, according to Culture Minister Sukumol Khunploem. Thai AirAsia CEO Tassapon Bijleveld said with more than 160 daily flights both domestic and international, the service will support the national artists to promote Thai culture here and abroad.
- Riva Surya Bangkok, a new boutique hotel, will soon open on Phra Athit Road along the bank of Chao Phraya River.
Managed by SilverNeedle Hospitality, the hotel will feature 68 rooms ranging from 30m2 to 48m2.
All rooms will be equipped with free wi-fi, a working space, iPod docking station and DVD player on request. Other hotel facilities will be a restaurant, bar, pool with jacuzzi and a fitness centre. The hotel will open on Aug 15.
- Centara Hotels & Resorts has launched its 31/2-star Centra Coconut Beach Resort Samui.
Located on Thong Tanote Beach in the southern part of the island, the hotel was once the Coconut Villa Resort & Spa. The refurbishment will give the hotel a new look to its 53 rooms, including pool villas. The rooms range in space from 37m2 to 63m2.
The hotel also offers a restaurant, two swimming pools and a spa run by Spa Cenvaree.
Centra Coconut Beach Resort Samui is the group's third property on the island after Centara Villa Samui and Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui.
- Best Western International has opened Best Western Plus Grand Howard as its sixth hotel in Bangkok.
Best Western Plus is the upper-midscale brand of the group and the new property is located in Sathon district.
It will feature 256 rooms equipped with free wi-fi, TV and an iPod dock. Bathrooms will have a separate tub and rain shower.
Hotel facilities include an all-day restaurant, cocktail bar, a swimming pool, fitness centre, meeting rooms, limousine services and a free shuttle to Bangkok's BTS skytrain network.
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