Thailand is aiming for the arrival of 15 million foreign tourists this year as the Kingdom further eases travel restrictions to support the battered tourism sector, a government spokesperson said on Friday.
The government of Thailand removed COVID-19 tests upon arrival on May 1, in an attempt to restore the country’s battered tourism industry, which generally accounts for about 12% of its GDP.
Thailand’s Tourism Authority predicts that tourists will spend 630 billion baht ($18.35 billion) to 1.2 trillion baht this year, according to government spokesperson Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana.
The predicted number of foreign arrivals is higher than the 428,000 foreign arrivals in 2021, but still well below the nearly 40 million tourists who spent roughly 1.91 trillion baht in 2019.
Arrival number of foreign tourists climbing
Thailand received 742,386 foreign arrivals from January through April, and the number is expected to rise significantly, Thanakorn said.
Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha presided over a meeting on Friday in which he approved extending the government subsidy for domestic travel to September from May, resulting in another 1 million room nights being subsidized by 40%.
Approximately 660 billion baht is expected to be generated by domestic tourism this year, Thanakorn said.
According to Bank of Thailand Governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput, Thailand’s battered tourism industry may not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2026.