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Thailand says foreign arrivals could reach 30 million this year, if Chinese return

Flickr/Dawn in Phuket, Thailand

The Tourism Authority of Thailand says that if Chinese visitor numbers bounce back, foreign arrivals could reach 30 million this year. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Chinese tourists were the largest foreign group arriving in Thailand, accounting for around 20% of visitors (in some tourist areas, more).

Thapanee Kiatphaiboon from the TAT says Thailand is targeting at least 25 million for the remainder of the year and remains hopeful that there could be a surge in the last 3 months of 2023.

“The biggest uncertainty is how quickly the China market could bounce back before the long holiday of October 1 (China’s National Day). If it does, then Chinese tourists could boost foreign arrivals, and we could see up to 28 – 30 million visitors by year-end.”

She says tourism revenue in the first 5 months of this year rose to 959 billion baht, of which foreign arrivals contributed nearly two-thirds. Hotel occupancy nationwide was at 70% and last month alone, 1.98 million foreign visitors arrived in the kingdom, mostly from Malaysia, followed by China, India, South Korea, and Laos.

Nation Thailand reports that total tourism revenue for the year is expected to reach 2.38 trillion baht, which would be around 80% of the 3 trillion baht reported in 2019.

Thapanee says the TAT continues to work with partners to promote secondary tourism provinces, running marketing campaigns to showcase the attractions of Nakhon Si Thammarat, Ayutthaya, Ubon Ratchathani, and Chanthaburi.

“We hope the campaign will help attract tourists to secondary provinces and reduce crowding at primary tourism provinces such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket.”

The data shows that currently, only 1 in 10 tourists visits the secondary provinces and TAT wants to double that by the end of this year. For 2024, officials have set a target of between 30 and 35 million foreign arrivals, expected to generate around 3 trillion baht for the economy.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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