Thailand has exceeded its target for tourist arrivals in the first quarter of 2023, with a total of 6.15 million visitors from January to March 27. The numbers were announced in a statement by government spokesperson Traisuree Taisaranakul today. The government had initially aimed for 6 million arrivals during this period.
The numbers coincide with the government’s extension of the usual 30 day visa waiver (for 64 countries) to 45 days. The extension was valid between the start of October, 2022, and March 31, 2023. No announcements have since been made to extend the 45 day visa waiver beyond the end of March although both the Thai Tourism and Sports Ministers and the Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand hav expressed their interest in proposing an extension.
As the influx of tourists increased, the Thai government urged hospitality businesses to charge fair prices, especially in hotels and restaurants where prices were seen to have doubled. Ms Traisuree emphasised that the government was monitoring the situation closely.
Chamnan Srisawat, President of the Tourism Council of Thailand, projected that 30 million tourists would visit the country this year, spending 1.5 trillion baht (approximately US$43.74 billion). This is good news for the country’s economy, as tourism accounts for 12% of its GDP before the Covid-19 pandemic. The government estimates that there will be between 25 million and 30 million arrivals for the entire year, which could generate the targeted 1.5 trillion baht in revenue.
Thailand’s tourism industry has been slowly recovering from the pandemic, which had a major impact on the country’s economy due to the significant drop in visitor numbers. The country is hoping that with the vaccination campaign and the reopening of borders, the tourism industry will continue to grow and help the country’s economy recover.