Thailand has welcomed over 22 million tourists so far this year, according to government officials. The latest figures show that between January 1 and October 29, a total of 22,064,968 travellers visited the kingdom. But the numbers, and the revenue from those tourists, is a shortfall on earlier predictions from the Tourism Authority of Thailand this year.
Leading the way were the Malaysians, with 3,619,930 tourists, followed by China with 2,765,906, South Korea with 1,313,117, India with 1,296,032 and Russia with 1,089,988.
The data also shows that over 500,000 tourists visited Thailand in October alone. Officials expect to see the number of European arrivals increase as we head into the high season and the number of European flights increases. But stakeholders recognise the increased airfare prices are depressing a surge of visitors back to Thailand.
The government’s recently-introduced visa-free travel for tourists from China, Kazakhstan, Taiwan and India is also expected to spur traveller numbers from those countries. Before, travellers from these countries either had to apply for a visa before their flight or get a visa-on-arrival when they arrived in Thailand.
However, the Tourism Authority of Thailand has acknowledged that the ongoing war in the Middle East may affect travel, along with fuel costs and global inflation.
SOURCE: The Phuket Express