Thailand has welcomed more than 22 million foreign tourists in the last ten months, with the government’s visa-free policy helping to boost arrivals, government spokesman Chai Wacharonke told Thai media yesterday.
According to Mr. Chai, the top five source countries for tourists (in order) were Malaysia, China, South Korea, India, and Russia.
Thailand’s Tourism Authority believes the number of arrivals will rise further as a visa-free policy for people of numerous countries attracts visitors with high potential. Visitors from 64 countries can now visit the nation without a visa for 30 days before applying for an extension of stay.
Visa exemptions for tourists from China and Kazakhstan went into effect on September 25 and will remain in effect until the end of February. During a recent visit to Beijing, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin expressed his desire to make the arrangement permanent for Chinese citizens.
The administration stated last week that tourists from India and Taiwan will be spared from visa requirements from November 10 to May 10.
According to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, 505,672 foreign tourists visited the country between October 23 and October 29. According to Mr Chai, the amount was greater than projected due to an increase in flights.
Arrivals are likely to rise in the week of October 30 to November 5, as more Europeans arrive as their cold season begins. According to him, the visa-free regime for Chinese and Kazakh tourists has also boosted arrivals.
According to the spokesman, the Tourism Authority of Thailand has set a full-year target of 25-28 million foreign visitors, generating around 2.16 trillion baht in income.
Before the Covid-19 outbreak stopped down travel for more than two years, Thailand received a record 40 million foreign visitors in 2019.
Last year, the country welcomed 11.5 million foreign tourists, almost all of whom arrived in the second half of the year following the removal of Covid limits.
Meanwhile, the Bank of Thailand (BOT) predicts that the country’s economic development will improve in the third quarter compared to the previous quarter.
During this time, the Thai economy expanded further, mostly due to increased private spending and a recovery in the service sector, which was aided by an increase in the number of local and international tourists.
Merchandise exports, excluding gold, increased slightly in the third quarter, according to the BOT. This expansion was attributable to significant contributions from the automobile and petroleum sectors, as well as increasing activity in the manufacturing sector. Jewellery, agricultural items, and agro-manufacturing were also strong performers.
However, the bank observed a drop in private investment as a result of lower investments in machinery and equipment compared to the preceding period. Government spending has also decreased, both in terms of current and capital expenditures.
Tourist spending has continued to rise, reflecting the rising number of tourists and occupancy rates. However, a recent incident at a Bangkok retail centre may have influenced tourist attitude and trust.
Nonetheless, free visa policies and seasonal travel trends are projected to help minimise some of the impact.