Tourism is rebounding but travellers expected to spend less

PHOTO: Thailand tourism recovering but travellers are spending less. (via Discover Beyond)

A government spokesperson is saying that tourism is nearly back to pre-Covid levels, though the Ministry of Tourism and Sports expects travellers will spend less money than previously predicted. Since January, 5 million international travellers have now landed in Thailand, about half the amount the government forecasted by the end of the year. One million tourists entered during September, garnering high hopes that the goal for the year is within sight.

While recent data suggested a downturn in tourism in the third quarter due to widespread flooding in the kingdom, officials expect to bounce back in the fourth quarter as international tourists itching to travel will be lured by the high season and a variety of year-end festivals. Officials are predicting 1.5 million international travellers per month in the last three months of the year.

The federal government is pushing hard on promotional marketing, working with provincial and local governments and the private tourism industry. They also expect to boost tourism revenue with their aggressive campaign to attract rich travellers and expats. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is working with airlines to do promotions and offer discounts on fuel tourism numbers for the end of the year as well.

Phuket reported that its domestic air arrivals have swelled to 84% of what it was before Covid-19, while its international arrivals have reached about 40% of pre-pandemic figures. The majority of those foreign tourists are from India and the Middle East, and it is hoped that by next year the currently restricted travel from China and Russia will be eased allowing an influx of international travellers.

The government has projected international travellers to account for 970 billion baht of the total 1.73 trillion baht forecast for tourism revenue next year. But as the flow of international travellers increases, they are now hopeful that the figure could rise to 2.3 trillion baht total from domestic and international tourism.

At the same time, the TAT has lowered its financial target from 1.2 trillion baht in tourism revenue down to 1.08 trillion. At the start of 2022, that target was 1.5 trillion and this is the third time that it has been lowered. The TAT governor says that weaker purchasing power has hampered revenue even while local and international airlines have been adding more long-haul flights and seat capacity to bring people into Thailand.

The TAT is negotiating with Taiwan-based EVA Airways to add more flights to Europe with stopovers in Bangkok, and next year should see a rise in chartered flights from Russia if the war in Ukraine is resolved. Meanwhile, airlines are adjusting their routes and schedules to accommodate demand changes post-pandemic, with many Thai carriers focusing on domestic routes more than in the past.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post 1 & 2

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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.

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