Tourism Authority of Thailand predicts 3 million tourists in 2021

PHOTO: TAT is predicting the empty beaches of Thailand will soon be full of tourists again. (via The Guardian)

In their ever-optimistic estimations, the Tourism Authority of Thailand has announced that they are aiming for 3 million foreign tourists visiting this year. The number seems ambitious as it’s only a 25% reduction from the TAT’s earlier projection in April of 4 million visitors, just before the onset of the massive and pervasive third wave of Covid-19 that brought Thailand to its knees and dashed most hopes of an easy and large international reopening anytime soon.

But as tourist meccas like Phuket are inching closer to their sandbox reopening date of July 1, international flights are being scheduled again, and mass vaccination campaigns launched nationwide, the country is once again upping their figures of expected international arrivals. At one point, numbers were revised to expect just 500,000 international tourists in 2021, in contrast to the 40 million travellers in 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic.

The TAT is focusing on the plan to let fully vaccinated tourists enter sandbox areas, starting with Phuket on July 1, without quarantine, though critics say the 14 day period where travel off the island is not allowed is essentially a soft quarantine. In October, Thailand plans to follow a similar scheme for 9 other provinces popular among tourists.

It will take time to ramp up arrivals back to Thailand, the TAT admits. Projections expect to see 129,000 visitors arriving to Thailand in the third quarter of 2021, about 4.5 times the amount of people who arrived in the first 4 months of the year. They then predict that if the sandbox relaunch is successful, nearly 2.9 million travellers will pour into tourist destinations in Thailand in the last 3 months of the year.

The deputy governor of the TAT said they believe the 3 million international tourists figure is reasonable for the fourth quarter since Thailand usually saw at least that many visitors per month before Covid-19. He believes the tourist-dependent struggling country will generate revenue of 240 to 300 billion baht, which works out to a generous 100,000 baht spent per traveller.

Their targets for 2022 might be even more ambitious, predicting 20 million international tourists visiting Thailand, half as much as the 2019 record of 40 million tourists. Furthermore, they expect the travellers to spend 1.3 trillion baht in Thailand, about 65,000 baht per person. In 2019, 1.9 trillion baht was generated, an average of 48,000 baht per person.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

Thaiger deals

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.


  1. I dought it that will be 3 million, as England put Thailand on the Red zone , and China is different if they come to Thailand going back have to stay 21 days quarantine now, who comes?

  2. That’s funny. While yes the world is reopening i personally don’t expect real numbers to arrive until 2022. There’s too much red tape even for vaccinated folks to travel across the planet. Articles like this are however great for domestic consumer confidence. People are spending more in June than they did in May. Manipulating fragile minds is really interesting to watch in real time. Especially considering there never was real danger. Covid still after 14 months is only 1/3 of the way to keep up annular flu deaths.

  3. The 14 night stay is a soft quarantine. It’s also the main reason I’m going to wait till late December instead of visiting this September. Three million still seems a bit optimist but it’s a lot better than the six million they projected several months ago.

  4. Keep on dreaming Thailand ??, you on your on your knees, begging for foreigner, but no respect for a foreigner, learn the hard way. Sadly to say and I do not like to say it, but you can not do without us….

  5. TAT let the country start removing its c19 related rules and restrictions, then see if local businesses are willing/still has the economic power for yet another [gamble] to open up their destroyed businesses. Then, if you can see tourists starting to arrive you can make your predictions. Before that, be quiet roll up your sleves and get out on the streets help those who are suffering.

    And BTW make sure the businesses don’t try to earn back lost revenue by increasing its prices, that wont work! especially with the high valued THB

  6. @IJTF – Right now, the number of Covid deaths is conservatively estimated at 6 to 7 times what the death rate for the flu is – and that is in spite of all the measures. Goodness, had no measures been taken, who knows how high it would be? 10 times? 20 times?

  7. Thais should be aiming for a good harvest and fish from the sea, plus a big bag after picking up cans.
    Forget tourists, you have driven them out, and blocked their holidays in Thailand.
    Starve you stupid peasants . . .

  8. Great reset new world order, no more travel for the plebs, no tourist money, comunist rule. If you are 0.001% life is good. Vax passports for a non leathal virus. Sheep, all are sheep. This wont be posted by my favorite thai media company the Thaiger. Also why cant i go to the gym in Chiang Mai when we have 0-3 cases every day for 2 weeks?

  9. there they go again with unrealistic numbers both in projected tourists & revenue. $3000/100000baht per person not a chance. Many are looking at the required hotel bookings that are mandatory even for those who own property here & they are just planning on waiting it out. They’re thinking why am i being forced to spend additional money for a hotel that is probably having to pay kickbacks where i would be spending on local economy around my condo/villa

  10. @IJTF. I can sort of understand how some people think as you do and claim Covid doesn’t kill, or hasn’t killed that many. But as others have indicated, why can you not see that this is due to the restrictions the whole planet has been under. Without them, there. Oils be 20-30 million dead. What is it that is so hard to understand about that? One thing I do find more scary than Covid, is the thought that I share a planet with such imbeciles who can not work that out. Crazy !!

  11. in this last year and a half I have often followed the news related to Thailand, what I have learned is that both the government and the TAT do not provide news but only propaganda.
    It is clear that international tourists will not return in 2021 and probably also for at least half of 2022, only by vaccinating the population and opening everything as before the covid will it be possible to attract international tourists again.
    No quarantine, no tracking apps, no designated hotels, no alcohol bans in restaurants, bars and nightclubs, lower baht, so western tourists can return, for the Chinese I think it will take longer luckily

  12. So many angry pathetic comments on here. We can agree that TAT are fantasists and that they will never hit these numbers in 2021 but the comments, dear God, so sad.

  13. To be fair, the projection does seem a tad optimistic. Basically it’s about half of the last two precovid high season (Jan/Feb 2020) numbers. There isn’t going to be much traffic until the country fully reopens which is probably November. Considering it’s highly doubtful the Chinese are coming before November of 2022, and who knows what is happening with the Aussies and Kiwis.

  14. As Toby Andrews rightly points out, the Thais, even the poor ones working in the tourism industry don’t really want us back, so petrified are they of a flu virus that is currently killing about 30 people a day out of a population of 70m. As for the ultra royalist yellow shirt Chinese backed brigade they positively loath us and
    dream of a Thai renaissance free of the filthy farang.

  15. I don’t think they’re expecting many people to arrive in Q3, the plan is clearly to fully open up all of the popular spots in October and that’s when they hope to get a large influx of tourists.

    A lot will depend on the availability of other countries, here in UK everyone is desperate to get on a plane but can’t go anywhere, if the majority of countries remain red or amber throughout the summer and Thailand goes green in October there could well be a lot of Brits heading there, I know I will be, if the bars are open.

  16. Delusional. Nobody is going to Thailand this year. Not with mandatory quarantine (because, yes, being stuck in Phuket is a quarantine), constant tests for Covid, stuck in an expensive hotel and being tracked by Thai authorities via an app on your phone, you’d have to be insane to subject yourself to that.

    We leave for Greece on July 2nd, and couldn’t be happier. Nearer to home, less expensive than Thailand, and no restrictions.

  17. With past ideas and performance the STV, Golfing Quarantine none of these ideas has meet even 1/4 of the target numbers and now the sandbox idea is even worse if you have seen Tims report on the island with most business, tourist spots closed, all bhat buses gone besides the beach and extremely limited night life there is not much to do or see when you get there.

  18. @Richard. I think you raise an interesting point. The Thais seem to think they can simply turn a switch and life returns to normal. I have heard a few people liken this current issue to the 2004 Tsunami and saying that within a week or so (days in some areas) life was back to near normal. This is a totally different scenario. Businesses won’t (can’t) reopen if there are few tourists and tourists won’t come in numbers if bars, restaurants and tourist attractions are closed or limited. That’s why this will take a year or more to return to normal. That timeframe will only start once ALL restrictions are removed and it is easy to enter the country. Checking Thai Embassey London website today, they have not updated anything in regards to visas since April last year. Here we are supposedly days away from reopening and nothing. I emailed them almost one week ago asking some basic questions. Still no response.

  19. @Simon Small – Nobody force you to come on this website and read, let alone write. Make a favor to everybody, avoid writing nonsense and go into oblivion. The quality of the comment section will greatly improve afterwards.

  20. @Simon Small – comments, all day long. If you want to see human trash look in the Thai media comments sections. Makes me really dislike people when I look through the comments. Not sure why I do it really

  21. @Nigel I completely agree. It sounds like a lot of tourism related businesses / infrastructure have closed down permanently, meaning fewer options for tourists arriving in the near future.

    For the businesses that are only temporarily closed down and have sent home or laid off employees, ramping everything up again will take time and add further costs. Expired stock needs to be replaced, equipment needing maintenance from being idle, staff needs to learn the routines again, changes in customer patterns needs to be discovered, pricings reevaluated to the new baselines, etc.

    With the above in mind, there is also a lot of requirements, uncertainty and risk for the tourists to consider. If you attempt to plan a vacation far into the future, you increase the chances of having the rules change in the meantime in either your own country or the destination country, which may make it impossible to complete the vacation. Many airlines also refused to refund their customers or delayed the refunds significantly in 2020, despite the flights being cancelled by the airlines themselves.

    It also seems that both European countries and the US are gradually easing most restrictions due to significant vaccination numbers. If Thailand insists on keeping these strict barriers up, I imagine most tourists (that would otherwise have visited Thailand) from Europe will enjoy their vacations in either their own countries, other European countries or possibly the US.

  22. @Do you ever stop and listen to yourself? – what do you expect for comments when Thailand is managed by Clowns and kids? Do you ever asked about the damage they creating for the country and the people. Maybe you should start to be an adult and learn about responsibility and self reflection.

  23. As many have said “good luck with that”. They have a chance if they are realistic which they aren’t even close to that now. Stupid rules for vaccinated people simply aren’t going to do it. The arrivals in the first 2 weeks after July 1st will tell the story.
    I’m sure I saw samui has totally different rules to Phuket. 7 days confined to island then can go to other islands then everywhere. A little more flexibility but saying “we don’t think the vaccine works”!

  24. What a silly people these Thais in charge are. They make these assinine assessments based purely on saving face and giving false hope to the average Thai. Tourism is dead in Thailand until late 2022 unless of course those in charge get their heads out of their arses and remove all restrictions.

  25. I think there could be a further killer blow on the horizon. A number of people may well come if they have long term plans visiting Thailand. However, let’s see the reaction of the Chiangmai governor when the first person wishes to leave Phuket after 14 nights and fly straight to his province. He may well decide you need to have a PCR test or a further 7 days in quarantine???

  26. Forgot to add. That will only apply to foreigners who wish to do that. An unvaccinated Thai who runs shoulders for 5 days with foreigners will be allowed to fly back to Chiangmai no problem at all. Thais don’t carry dirty Covid you see. They shower 3 times a day unlike foreigners who shower 3 times a year. Simple….

  27. @John – Good point, I strongly suspect that he is just another anti vaxxer doing more harm than good by spreading false stories. If he doesn’t want a jab then dont get it, just means sensible people get it sooner, no need to spread malicious BS

  28. This must be a late version of the April Fool’s joke to predict 3 million tourists in 2021.Nothing is for certain,as restrictions will discourage visitors from coming….vaccination certificates, quarantine of 14 days,Covid-19 insurance policy and other requirements before entry into the kingdom.Furthermore,most establishments for entertainment,F&B and places to visit may not be oprational.It is going to be boring to be cooped up in the hotels for a period of two weeks.

  29. 3 million in 3 months..?? a million a month..30000 a day every day.. 100 full planes every day 5555.. skys will be grey with planes …got to admire the optimism. Not going to happen tho unfortunately..Uk people have been told not to travel to amber or red zones…thailand is amber at the moment and could switch to red any day.both require mandatory quarantine on return home..also i fear that if you purchase the compulsory insurance. And travel against gov advice. This is a get out clause for claims..i hope im wrong…good luck to all.

Leave a Reply