September 21, 2023
BANGKOK – Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin is preparing to welcome Chinese tourists on September 25 at Suvarnabhumi Airport to celebrate the “visa exemption” policy for Chinese and Kazakh visitors.
The new measure allows them to travel to Thailand without a visa for up to 30 days throughout a 5-month temporary programme that runs from September 25 to February 29, 2024.
The Ministry of Tourism and Sports has released statistics showing that the number of foreign tourists visiting Thailand from January 1 to September 17 exceeded 19 million, marking a 271% increase compared to the same period last year.
The top five foreign tourist markets visiting Thailand during this period are:
Malaysia: 3,076,274 tourists
China: 2,341,080 tourists
South Korea: 1,125,639 tourists
India: 1,097,395 tourists
Russia: 961,348 tourists
These tourists have contributed significantly to the Thai tourism industry, with total revenue exceeding 795.11 billion baht, resulting in combined tourism revenue of 1.3 trillion baht when considering both Thai and foreign tourists.
Looking ahead, the Tourism and Sports Ministry expects a gradual recovery in foreign tourism as markets like Malaysia and Japan have consecutive holidays. They anticipate that about 490,000 foreign tourists, mainly from nearby markets such as East Asia, Southeast Asia, and ASEAN, will visit Thailand during this period,
However, the sector still faces challenges, such as limited flight availability and higher ticket prices compared to competing destinations.
Earlier, the Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor (TAT) Thapanee Kiatphaibool said that based on the assessment of foreign tourist trends this year, it is expected that there will be 28-29 million tourists, which is higher than the target set by the TAT of at least 25 million.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports has adjusted its target for the number of foreign tourists for next year to 40 million, up from the previous goal of at least 35 million. It is believed that this target is achievable because both PM Srettha and all government ministries are ready to support the tourism sector. TAT is prepared to work towards achieving the goal of 40 million tourists.