Thailand is set to exceed its target of 27 million foreign arrivals this year, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand. However, it’s also set to fall short of its target of 1.6-trillion baht in tourism revenue. It might be the first target set by the TAT that is actually achieved in the past three years.
Still, the excuses came rolling out after Thai tourism not reaching revenue targets.
TAT governor Thapanee Kiatphaibool says there are several factors affecting revenue, including slow economic recovery worldwide and a slow return to pre-pandemic status for the aviation industry.
In turn, these challenges are affecting long-haul travellers to Thailand, in particular the Europeans, who normally spend more due to the fact that they tend to stay longer.
Between January 1 and November 11 this year, Thailand welcomed 25.8 foreign arrivals, resulting in 1.07 trillion baht in revenue. The kingdom is expecting around 2 million foreign visitors this month, which means it will likely surpass its 27 million target and generate revenue of 1.2 trillion baht.
According to a Nation Thailand report, Malaysians have been top of the list of visitors this year, with around 4.59 million spending an average of 26,000 bant per person per trip. Many of those trips are across the southern border and include day traders, locals and short weekend breaks.
The slowdown in Chinese arrivals is ongoing, with the anticipated 4 million-ish visitors this year now expected be more like 3.5 million. This is the result of China’s sluggish economic recovery and Beijing’s success in boosting domestic tourism with various stimulus measures.
So far, the policy to waive visas for arriving Chinese tourists has not resulted in a net increase in arrivals. The visa-waiver promotion for Chinese citizens is set to conclude at the end of February 2024 although the government may choose to extend it.
Also on the table is the possibility of multiple-entry tourist visas, which would allow tourists from certain countries to enter and exit the kingdom multiple times, enabling them to travel around the region and return to Thailand without the need for a new visa each time they arrive back in Thailand.
On the domestic front, travel in-country has surpassed its target, with Thai tourists embarking on 228 million trips between January and November.
That figure is expected to rise to 240 million by year-end, generating 800 billion baht in revenue and exceeding the government’s target of 200 million trips.
SOURCE: Nation Thailand