Thai PM Prayut ‘positive’ about expected tourist influx

Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha says he is confident about the country’s expected tourist influx this year, according to a government spokesperson. Thailand’s CCSA scrapped the Thailand Pass on Friday, July 1. Now, the Tourism and Sports Ministry expects a total of about 9.3 million foreign visitors to arrive in the ‘Land of Smiles’ this year.

The compulsory US$10,000 insurance was also scrapped from July 1.

The kingdom saw 1.9 million foreign tourists arrive from January to June 28. This raked in about 114 million baht in tourism revenue. Now that the Thailand Pass is gone, the Tourism and Sports Ministry expects about 2.7 million foreign visitors to arrive from this month until the end of September.

It expects about 4.5 million foreign tourists to arrive in the last quarter, which would bring Thailand’s total number of tourists for 2022 to about 9.3 million. If the Tourism and Sports Ministry’s dreams come true, Thailand’s tourism revenue this year could likely be over 1.27 trillion baht.

The predictions are predicated on expectations from Thailand’s tourism officials and haven’t addressed the rising price of flights, cancellations and disruptions to the US and European summer air traffic, inflation hitting potential travellers’ discretionary income and rising fuel costs.

The biggest groups of people flying to Thailand so far this year have been from India, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and the US. Meanwhile, the biggest groups travelling across land borders have been Malaysian, Lao, Cambodian, Vietnamese and Chinese.

Last week, the Tourism and Sports Ministry announced that Malaysia was set to replace India as the tourist king of Thailand, following the demise of the Thailand Pass. Indians have so far made up Thailand’s biggest tourist group this year, with 100,884 arriving between January 1 and May 24.

Meanwhile, the Tourism Authority of Thailand says 78,523 Malaysian visitors entered the kingdom in the first 5 months of the year. The majority of Malaysian travellers, however, have been day traders and weekend tourists.

As the year unfolds, Thailand will see which groups make up its biggest tourist market, and whether or not it will get the number of tourists and revenue that Prayut is now bubbly about.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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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.