Domestic tourism in Thailand hits 93% recovery

Suladda Sarutilavan, courtesy of

Thailand’s domestic tourism sector has seen a significant recovery, reaching 93% of its pre Covid-19 levels, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). The TAT expects to record approximately 160 million domestic trips in the country this year, a sharp contrast to the dismal figures witnessed at the onset of the pandemic in 2019.

At a press conference, Suladda Sarutilavan, director of the TAT’s Chiang Mai office, provided an upbeat assessment of the current tourism landscape in both Thailand and Chiang Mai. She highlighted the considerable strides made in the domestic tourism sector, which now stands at 93% of its pre-pandemic levels. The projected tourism-related revenue is also expected to reach 808.2 billion baht by the end of this year, marking a 75% increase from 2019.

Suladda attributed the robust recovery to several key factors. These include the World Health Organisation’s announcement signalling the end of the Covid pandemic as a global health emergency, and various government incentives designed to stimulate domestic tourism. Extra public holidays and campaigns offering discounts or organising events for tourists have played a pivotal role in reviving the industry.

The northern city of Chiang Mai has been a focal point for some of these revitalisation efforts. A recent light show, part of the TAT’s Vijitr 5 Regions project, drew in over 70,000 visitors. From January to July, Chiang Mai welcomed approximately 6.3 million visitors, of which around 4.1 million were Thai nationals and 2.1 million were foreigners. The city’s hotel occupancy rate currently sits at 74.42%, generating over 62.8 billion baht in tourism revenue.

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Looking ahead, the TAT’s Chiang Mai office anticipates that the city’s domestic tourism revenue will reach 80 billion baht by the end of this year, representing a recovery rate of over 80% in comparison to 2019, reported Bangkok Post.

As per the data from Chiang Mai International Airport, the top five nationalities visiting Chiang Mai are Chinese, South Korean, Taiwanese, Malaysian, and American. The TAT has plans to further boost domestic tourism next year, aiming to attract over 200 million domestic trips and generate over 1.08 trillion baht in tourism revenue.

In her closing remarks, Suladda stressed the TAT’s commitment to promoting tourism in both major and minor cities and encouraging travel during weekdays. The TAT will also spotlight traditional culture and local events as part of its strategy to leverage Thailand’s soft power and create sustainable income for local communities.

These plans are in alignment with Thailand’s National Economic and Social Development Plan and are part of the move towards sustainable domestic tourism.

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Alex Morgan

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