According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), tourism earnings will not be able to reach projected levels, and the aim has been reduced to 1.92 trillion baht from an earlier target of 2.29 trillion baht owing to the impact of a “polycrisis.”
However, the overall objective of 3 trillion baht has been maintained, since the agency expects the domestic market to reach 1.08 trillion baht next year.
TAT completed its 2024 action plan last week, and the updated official target was revealed Tuesday. Previously, the government predicted 40 million foreign tourists this year, producing 2.29 billion baht, like it did in 2019.
TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn stated that Thailand is in the midst of a polycrisis, in which several negative events have hammered the tourism industry at the same time, including inflation, recession, interest rate hikes, surging fuel prices, and the slow resumption of international flights at only 70% of 2019 levels.
Meanwhile, growth drivers such as the Chinese market have not been as robust as projected, which may pose a problem for tourism in the coming year. According to Mr Yuthasak, the worst-case scenario might see static revenue of 2.4 trillion baht in 2024, or around the same level as this year.
However, if the best-case scenario revenue of 1.92 trillion baht is used, the short-haul market would create the most income at 1.2 trillion baht from a massive volume of roughly 25.8 million tourists, accounting for 74% of the total.
The remaining would come from the long-distance sector, which is expected to generate 720 billion baht from 9.2 million visitors.
Tanes Petsuwan, TAT’s deputy governor for Asia and the South Pacific, stated that the short-haul market will rebound faster, with income reaching 94% of what it was in 2019, while visitor traffic would grow more slowly, reaching just 83% of what it was before the epidemic.
The short-haul sector is expected to conclude this year, with 18 million tourists generating 949 billion baht in revenue.
According to Mr Tanes, Thailand may only have 7-8 million Chinese visitors next year, down from 10 million in 2019.
TAT vice governor for Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas, Siripakorn Cheawsamoot, noted that persisting concerns include ongoing geopolitical tensions and high oil prices, which result in higher travel costs for passengers.
International flights are projected to return to 85-90% of 2019 levels next year. According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand’s projections, Mr Siripakorn believes a full aviation recovery will take until 2025.
Air traffic during the summer schedule this year would total 100,493 inbound flights, up from 53,839 flights during the winter schedule in 2022.