Thailand welcomes nearly 11 million tourists this year

Tourist arrivals in Thailand could hit the 11 million mark before the year is through, according to the Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Yuthasak Supaporn.

Between January 1 and December 20, Thailand welcomed 10.9 million tourists from around the world, the governor said this morning.

With High Season in full swing, Yuthasak said he expects tourist arrivals to reach 11.5 million before the year’s end.

Perhaps Yuthasak’s forecast will come to fruition given that 90% of hotels in Chiang Mai province in northern Thailand are booked up for New Year, according to the Thai Hotels Association (Northern Region).

The TAT surpassed its goal of 10 million tourists in 2022 earlier this month. To celebrate the milestone, the TAT held the event “Amazing Thailand 10 million Celebrations” on December 10 at seven airports nationwide, giving gifts and souvenirs to tourists who entered the kingdom that day.

“The top markets were Malaysia, India, and Laos,” said Yuthasak.

Surpassing 10 million tourist arrivals this year was a significant achievement for the TAT given the pandemic’s lingering effects on the global travel industry.

However, the TAT still has some way to go for tourist arrivals to reach pre-pandemic levels. In 2019, Thailand recorded 40 million tourist arrivals.

Next year, the TAT is doubling its expectations and has set a goal of 22 million tourist arrivals for 2023.

Not only does the TAT want to see more travellers venturing to Thailand but is working on attracting “high-spending tourists,” not just penny-pinching backpackers, to the kingdom.

The TAT hopes that next year’s tourists will be big spenders who will help Thailand’s economy get back on its feet. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the tourism sector accounted for 12% of Thailand’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

One initiative the TAT is running to lure in deep-pocketed tourists is the ‘Amazing New Chapters: Discover Luxperience in Thailand’, aimed at high-end South Korean travellers.

The ‘luxperience‘ is a travel package combining business class tights to Bangkok on Asiana Airlines and a stay at the five-star Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok, which costs around 12,000 baht per night.

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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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