Thailand’s prime minister says he expects the country to see more than 30 million foreign tourists this year. In light of his predictions, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has instructed relevant agencies to facilitate tourists with travel plans and to ensure their safety in the country.
According to Reuters, the government initially predicted a smaller number of foreign tourists to arrive this year (20 million), but then changed it to 28 million. Now, the number is expected to reach over 30 million.
Government spokesperson, Anucha Burapachaisri, commented on the current predictions.
“Most recently, the prime minister is confident that tourist numbers will even exceed 30 million.”
China’s border reopening has reportedly affected the latest tourism projections as the return of Chinese tourists is expected to inflate the number of foreign tourists this year.
Thailand’s government is now expecting at least seven to eight million Chinese visitors this year, up from a previous forecast of five million. The governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Yuthasak Supasorn, told Reuters about the forecasted increase.
“Earlier, we didn’t think China would also allow group tours… now we are seeing at least seven to eight million people.”
The new expectations would be more than half of the 11 million Chinese visitors recorded back in 2019, before the pandemic.
Yuthasak says Thailand has received more than 99,000 Chinese tourists up until February 2 of this year. He says overall foreign tourist arrivals amounted to 2.1 million in January.
Last year, Thailand beat its tourism target with 11.15 million foreign visitors. That number was a large increase from 2021 when only 428,000 tourists entered the country due to worldwide Covid travel restrictions clamped down on any sort of international travel.
Before the Covid pandemic wreaked havoc on Thailand’s coveted tourism industry, the nation saw a record of nearly 40 million foreign tourists in 2019. The economy also benefitted from such a surge in tourism, recording 1.91 trillion baht from tourists’ expenditures.
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