Thai officials seek to promote Muslim-friendly tourism

Muslim tourists in Thailand, photo by Royal Coast Review.

Thai officials are seeking to promote Muslim-friendly tourism in the kingdom. In a recent focus group discussion on Islamic tourism in Phuket province, the Department of Tourism (DoT) and private sectors reviewed strategies to attract Muslim visitors, NNT reported yesterday.

The DoT’s Tourist Attractions Development Division Director, Athuek Phrasenmoon, said the global tourism industry recognises Muslim tourists as a fast-growing market with high spending power.

Athuek said Muslim tourists prefer destinations that are Muslim-friendly, such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Krabi. They also look for hotels and restaurants that serve halal food and provide facilities such as prayer rooms, he said.

The private sector suggested promoting tourism activities related to the Muslim calendar. One idea was offering attractive campaigns after Ramadan, one of the holiest months of the year for Muslims, when they are required to fast during the day.

Thailand is the fourth most popular non-Muslim country among Muslim tourists, according to the MasterCard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index 2022.

Over 400,000 tourists travelled to Thailand from the Middle East in 2022, according to NNT.

With this in mind, the DoT is committed to developing a solid plan to attract more Muslim tourists to the country while ensuring that they feel welcome and comfortable during their stay. In addition to the tourism strategy, the department is also working to prepare authorities and personnel working in the hospitality and service industries to understand the culture, behaviour, and needs of Muslim tourists.

The focus group discussion in Phuket was the fourth such discussion held in Thailand, with previous ones held in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Chon Buri. The DoT and private sectors will continue to work together to develop strategies to attract more Muslim tourists to Thailand and promote it as a friendly tourism destination.

In January, Thailand welcomed 2.14 million international tourists. The biggest tourist group in Thailand were Malaysians, a majority of whom are Muslims. Thailand saw 288,745 Malaysian tourists in January.

Another Muslim-majority country that Thailand has been working with to promote tourism is Saudi Arabia. In June last year, Thailand announced a 30-day visa exemption for Saudi citizens. Saudis can now enter Thailand and stay for 30 days without applying for a visa before departure.

Roughly 5% of Thais are Muslims. Most Thai Muslims live in the country’s southern region.

Thailand NewsTourism News

Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

Related Articles