Bangkok, September 19, 2023 (Xinhua) – In a stunning resurgence, Thailand has seen an unprecedented influx of over 19 million foreign tourists from January to mid-September, marking an astounding 271-percent year-on-year increase, according to official data released on Tuesday.
As of the latest report, the Southeast Asian nation has reaped a staggering revenue of more than 795 billion baht, equivalent to approximately 22.08 billion U.S. dollars, from foreign visitors. The primary sources of this tourist windfall have been identified as Malaysia, China, South Korea, and India, as reported by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.
This surge in tourist arrivals comes as a result of several factors, with the Ministry attributing the recent upswing to extended weekends in Malaysia and Japan, along with heightened interest from short-haul countries within the Asian market, as conveyed in an official statement.
To further bolster the revival of its crucial tourism sector during the peak season, Thailand has announced a strategic move. Starting from next Monday, the country will grant temporary tourist visa exemptions to passport holders from China and Kazakhstan until the close of February 2024. The ambitious visa-free entry initiative is expected to play a pivotal role in reinvigorating Thai tourism, as the nation sets its sights on achieving its annual target of welcoming 25 million to 30 million inbound visitors, with an impressive projected revenue of 2.38 trillion baht, according to a separate statement by Thapanee Kiatphaibool, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
Kiatphaibool anticipates a significant influx of Chinese tourists in 2023, with projections indicating that Thailand is set to welcome up to 4.4 million visitors from China alone. This influx is predicted to contribute a substantial revenue of 257 billion baht, reaffirming China’s vital role as a major contributor to Thailand’s tourism industry. It’s worth noting that in the pre-COVID year of 2019, Chinese tourists constituted approximately 28 percent of nearly 40 million foreign visitors to Thailand. This underscores the importance of tourism as a key driver of Thailand’s economic growth, accounting for a substantial 12 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. (Please note that 1 baht equals 0.028 USD.)