Thailand welcomes 5.5 million foreign tourists so far this year

In the first three months of 2023, more than 5.5 million foreign tourists entered Thailand, generating over 200 billion baht for the economy, government spokesperson Trisulee Trisoranakul reported this morning.

Between January 1 and March 18, 5,578,721 foreign tourists arrived in Thailand, generating 215 billion baht in tourism revenue, according to data provided by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.

In comparison, Thailand welcomed 11.5 million tourists in 2022. In 2023, Thailand achieved nearly half of that figure in just three months.

Trisulee said the data indicates that the tourism industry’s overall situation is “improving steadily.” Although, the increase in tourists has caused some problems which must be addressed, said the spokesperson.

Thailand’s international airports are struggling with processing so many passengers, causing long queues at check-in counters, security and immigration – both inbound and outbound.

Additionally, aeroplane ticket prices have increased in price, said Trisulee, hindering the industry from recovering fully.

Today, the Ministry of Transport invited officials from the Airports of Thailand (AOT) and representatives from the Aviation Business Operations Committee to discuss finding solutions to these urgent problems.

The building pressure at Suvarnabhumi Airport was evidenced last week when Thai Airways requested that passengers flying internationally arrive at the airport four hours before their departure time due to delays.

However, AOT snapped back at THAI, saying their information was not true and that arriving at the airport three hours before departure was ample time to check in and get to their gate.

Foreign arrivals might not get the warmest welcome into the kingdom via Suvarnabhumi Airport thanks to Bangkok’s notorious taxi drivers who love to scam non-Thais for an extra few baht.

Yesterday, a Suvarnabhumi Airport taxi driver was brought to shame when a Taiwanese tourist accused him of charging her 1,500 baht to get from the airport into central Bangkok. If he used the taxi meter according to the law, the journey would have cost around 300 baht.

The driver was subsequently banned for life from picking up passengers at Bangkok’s premier airport and authorities say his license could be revoked.

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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.

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