Tourism: Starting June, Southeast Asian country of Thailand expecting 1 million arrivals per month

Thailand

As the Southeast Asian country of Thailand further eases travel restrictions to support the key tourism sector, the country’s tourism authorities say their goal for the number of foreign arrivals in Thailand is expected to happen earlier than they predicted it would.

According to The Thaiger, the Tourism Authority of Thailand previously said it expected 1 million tourists per month to arrive in Thailand between October and December, leading up to the high season. But now, the TAT says Thailand should reach this goal starting in June. Yes, June THIS year, according to the TAT Governor.

As of May 19, Thailand has welcomed 1.1 million tourists for the whole of 2022 thus far. India is leading the pack among the top countries with visitors coming to Thailand, followed by the UK, Germany, the US, and Russia (mostly before the end of February and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but many Russians still stuck in Thailand at this time).

But the prediction of 1 million tourists in the month of June won’t happen. Even if Thailand were to welcome 1 million international arrivals next month (unlikely to say the least), only 60-70% of them would be actual tourists. But the TAT have been over-predicting tourist arrivals since the borders started re-opening in 2020, sometime over-estimating arrival numbers by 5-10 times the actual numbers that eventually arrived.

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The predictions presume a lot of things falling to the advantage of Thailand and people suddenly wanting to return to the Land of Smiles. Meanwhile global headwinds, including inflation, rising fuel (and therefore air ticket) prices, looming recessions in leading economies and, locally, the lingering Thailand Pass and remaining restrictions. In pre-Covid travel trends, 2019 for example, there was an average of 3.3 million international arrivals each month.

The TAT said this week that it plans to target ‘wealthy tourists‘ as it works out its marketing plan as it contributes to the recovery the Thai economy following a 2 year hiatus due to closed borders and restrictions. It claims that, focussing on the “rich groups”, 1.93 trillion baht will be generated in 2024 even though the number of tourists will be fewer than in the past years. TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said India and the Middle East are markets TAT wants to tap into.

“India and the Middle East are high-potential target markets, particularly Saudi Arabia, which could see at least 200,000 tourists flooding in this year.” TAT says the estimate for the total number of tourists this year will be at least 8 million.

This is more realistic than earlier estimates of 10 or 15 million visitors coming to Thailand in 2022, reported in earlier articles this year. Back in November 2021 the TAT Governor predicted some 20 million visitors would visit Thailand during 2022.

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