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Thailand’s tourist numbers are rocketing back, but a different mix of nationalities

Thailand’s tourism numbers are rocketing back, although in ways that were not predicted even a year ago.

According to a government official, the tourism sector is “gaining momentum”, and as a result, the government expects about 6 million foreign tourists to arrive in the first quarter of the year, a remarkable recovery when compared to last year.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand is projecting a total of 25 million to 30 million foreign tourists to visit this year, with an estimated spending of 1.5 trillion baht. The first quarter’s results have provided a solid foundation for this prediction to be achieved.

This information was shared by the government spokesperson, Anucha Burapachaisri, in a statement. The government is optimistic about the number of tourists and revenue it will generate as the industry recovers.

In Q4 2022 the rise of Russian arrivals, even into the high season and beyond, was the main feature of the rising number of arrivals. For Q1 2023 it has been the rebound of Chinese travellers to Thailand after China re-opened its borders to foreign travel at the start of the year. Whilst a revival of tourists from other countries has been mediocre, the numbers have been more than compensated for by Russian and Chinese travellers and, to a lesser extent, Indians.

In Phuket, over the first 2 weeks of March, Russians (47,525) were the most numerous arrivals, followed by Chinese (21,414) , Indians (14,320), Kazakhs (9,703) and Germans (9,602). Notably, the rate of Russian arrivals in March is greater than in December or January.

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