Thailand welcomes 900,000 foreign tourists during Jan 1-15

Photo via Tourism Authority of Thailand

In the first half of January, Thailand welcomed a grand total of 913,013 foreign tourists, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

Governor of the TAT Yuthasak Supsasorn revealed that Russia has overtaken Malaysia as the Number 1 tourism market…

Foreign Arrivals in Thailand by Nationality January 1 – 15, 2023

  1. Russians (99,593)
  2. Malaysians (89,461)
  3. South Koreans (47,471)
  4. Indians (41,863)
  5. Laotians (41,863)

As time goes on, Chinese tourists are expected to make their way into the Top 5. In the first half of January, Chinese nationals ranked 10th place, totalling 28,643.

“This is line with the expectation that the Chinese market will gradually improve in 2023,” said Yuthasak.

In fact, a spike in Chinese arrivals is certain this weekend for the Chinese New Year holidays. Thailand is the most searched for travel destination for the Lunar New Year, with online searches for flights to the kingdom beating searches for flights to all other countries in the region, according to travel marketing company Sojern.

TAT has plans to lure 25 million tourists into Thailand in 2023, more than doubling up on 2022’s total of 11.5 million foreign arrivals.

There are four tourism markets that the TAT expects will bring over one million tourists into the kingdom this year, including 5 million from China, 4 million from Malaysia, 2 million from India, and 1.1-1.2 million from South Korea.

In 2023, the TAT hopes that foreign tourists will generate 80% of the tourism revenue generated by the 40 million tourists who arrived in 2019 before the pandemic.

As for domestic tourists, the TAT is launching a “Thai Tiew Thai” (“Thais travel Thailand”) campaign with the goal of 250 million domestic tourists/trips this year, said Yuthasak.

The TAT is currently collecting data to propose extending the 45-day visa exemption on arrival policy. Until the end of March, visa exemptions on arrival (for tourists from 68 countries with bilateral agreements with Thailand) are eligible to stay in the kingdom visa-free for 45 days.

The TAT hopes to extend 45-day stays in Thailand for tourists extended to the end of the year.

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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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