Thailand tourism thrives despite slow GDP growth

Picture courtesy of Bangkok Post

Thailand’s tourism sector demonstrates resilience, maintaining momentum despite a GDP growth of only 1.5% in the first quarter, which trails behind its regional counterparts. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) attributes this robustness to a quicker rebound in tourism compared to other industries and is planning to sustain this through the ongoing promotion of festivals.

Reports have shown that large concerts contributed to Singapore’s 2.7% economic growth. However, Teerasil Tapen, deputy governor for digital research and development at TAT, noted that concerts alone have a minor impact on Singapore’s economy, which thrives on high-tech stocks and trading. Thailand, by contrast, relies heavily on tourism and sectors with limited growth, such as agriculture and energy.

Teerasil stated that revenue from entertainment and activities is expected to rise as the government has committed to enhancing tourism by promoting festivals and significant events.

“With more events coming up, high-spending tourists could extend their trips to join these events and explore other parts of the country.”

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Teerasil emphasised the necessity for Thailand to market various destinations to cater to these tourists, unlike other countries that focus solely on specific events.

The TAT anticipates that over 860,000 visitors will participate in events and celebrations nationwide during Pride Month in June, potentially generating more than 10 billion baht (US$273 million) in revenue, Teerasil said.

“This year is significant for LGBTQ rights, as the landmark marriage equality bill is expected to be enacted, positioning Thailand as one of the first in Asia to fully endorse equal rights, thereby enhancing its friendly image for all travellers.”

On May 27, TAT signed a memorandum of agreement with online travel agent Traveloka to promote Thai tourism for both domestic and inbound markets.

“The collaboration with Traveloka should attract more Southeast Asian travellers, especially users from Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, who are a substantial market for the platform.”

Teerasil also pointed out that Thailand hosts many mini-concerts and fan meet-ups throughout the year, predominantly featuring South Korean acts, which can draw visitors from Southeast Asia and encourage them to extend their stay.

Conversely, long-haul travellers are drawn to Thailand for its renowned cultural events like Songkran and Loy Krathong, reported Bangkok Post.

As of today, the TAT reported that foreign arrivals for the year have reached 14.3 million, with Chinese tourists making up a significant portion of these numbers.

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Bright Choomanee

With a degree in English from Srinakharinwirot University, Bright specializes in writing engaging content. Her interests vary greatly, including lifestyle, travel, and news. She enjoys watching series with her orange cat, Garfield, in her free time.

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