Thailand to surpass tourism target thanks to Malaysians and Indians

Thailand is set to surpass its target of 10 million tourists by the end of the year thanks to an influx of Malaysian and Indian visitors. Thailand has welcomed over 1 million tourists from Malaysia and almost 600,000 tourists from India so far in 2022.

Before the pandemic, Chinese tourists topped the list of Thailand’s foreign arrivals year in and year out. However, with China’s ceaseless Covid-zero policy, Chinese holidaymakers for the most part have been unable to return to the kingdom.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) recently revealed that 7.56 million tourists arrived in the kingdom between January 1, 2022 – October 26, 2022. The TAT’s goal was for Thailand to hit 10 million international arrivals by the end of the year.

Now High Season is in full swing, Government Spokesperson Anucha Burapachaisri said on Saturday that Thailand could expect to welcome 1.5 million foreign tourists per month in November and December – with mostly Malaysians and Indians to thank.

Over one in seven tourists arriving in the kingdom so far this year are Malaysian nationals, hitting over one million arrivals. In second place come Indians with nearly 600,000 arrivals this year.

According to Anucha, flights from India, and Malaysia to Thailand in November and December are 85% and 68% booked up, respectively.

Thailand may well surpass 10 million foreign arrivals this year. However, the number is still only one-quarter of pre-pandemic figures. In 2019, Thailand welcomed almost 40 million foreign arrivals and generated US$60 million in tourism revenue.

The TAT expects that Thailand could see 18 million foreign arrivals next year – almost half of the pre-pandemic figures – and could expect to generate 970 billion baht (US$26 billion) in tourism revenue.

Thailand’s High Season runs from November – April when the weather is considered most pleasant in Thailand. Immigration officers at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport can barely cope with the sudden uptick in foreigners, who have swarmed into the kingdom since High Season began one week ago.

The airport has increased the number of immigration booths from 92 to 112 and will staff every booth during busy hours. The airport is capable of checking in around 6,500 passengers per hour without compromising security, said Commander of Immigration of Division 2 Maj Gen Choengron Rimphade.

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.