Thailand welcomed 2.14 million international tourists last month

Thailand welcomed 2.14 million international tourists in January, data from the tourism ministry showed today. The data showed a small decline from the previous month.

The top three source markets last month were Malaysia with 288,745 tourists, Russia with 202,759 tourists, and South Korea 169,462 tourists.

However, the return of travellers from China, following the removal of Covid-19 restrictions, helped boost the numbers. A total of 91,841 Chinese tourists flocked to Thailand last month, compared with 3,110 in the same period last year.

China’s reopening is expected to give the recovery further impetus. The government is forecasting 7 to 8 million Chinese visitors in 2023, compared with 11 million in 2019, Bangkok Post reported.

Tourism is a vital source of employment and a major driver of the economy in Thailand, typically accounting for about 12% of the annual GDP. Before the pandemic hit, Thailand welcomed almost 40 million visitors in 2019, who spent 1.91 trillion baht (US$54.37 billion).

In January 2022, when entry restrictions were in place in Thailand, there were just 133,828 visitors.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said earlier this month that he expected more than 30 million foreign visitors in 2022.

Last week, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) launched its ‘Amazing Thailand Amazing New Chapters Roadshow to China 2023.’ The roadshow began on 21 February in Shanghai and later moved to Chengdu and Guangzhou.

TAT expects the roadshow to help it reach its goal of welcoming 5 million tourists to Thailand this year.

The roadshow aimed to create business opportunities for Thailand’s 61 tourism suppliers and Chinese tourism professionals. It also aims to raise awareness of Thailand’s wide range of quality tourism experiences.

TAT also promoted the “Tiew Muang Thai Ying Pai Ying Sanook” tourism campaign. The campaign highlights exclusive and high-quality tourism products and services catering to current Chinese travel segments, such as hyper-millennials, families, workation, and silver luxury.

Nearly 2,000 Chinese flights are set to enter Thailand in the coming months.

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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.