Tourism milestone: Thailand celebrates 10 millionth visitor

PHOTO: PM Prayut welcomes the 10 millionth visitor, a tourism milestone for Thailand. (via Phuket Express)

Yesterday marked a milestone for Thailand tourism as the 10 millionth international traveller arrived in the kingdom. Visitors were welcomed at each of Thailand’s seven international airports as well as two land immigration checkpoints. One lucky passenger was showered with gifts at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on hand for the festivities.

The landmark was dubbed “Amazing Thailand 10 Million Celebrations” and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports hailed the achievement as an indicator of the success of the country’s recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic. Though forecasts and targets for visitor numbers changed throughout the year, the latest goal was 10 million people entering Thailand by the end of the year. That goal was handily surpassed with three weeks to spare, the Tourism Minister said.

“The target of 10 million arrivals in 2022 has been met, as was promised to the Thai government. It is a milestone achievement that reflects the successful restoration of Thailand’s tourism industry, an achievement which has come about from the concerted efforts of all stakeholders in the public and private sectors.”

Business leaders and government officials were on hand not just at the main international hubs of Suvarnabhumi Airport and Don Mueang International Airport in Bangkok, but at five other airports around the country too. Phuket, Chiang Mai, Pattaya hub U-Tapao Airport, Krabi, and Koh Samui all had fanfare greeting arrivals for the day. The major land border checkpoints at Nong Khai, and Sadao also had celebrations.

At Bangkok’s main airport, The Phuket Express reports that PM Prayut and Minister of Tourism and Sports Pipat Ratchakitprakarn waited to welcome the official 10 millionth arriving passenger. Representatives of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Suvarnabhumi Airport, the province, various police forces, and the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia joined the event.

That lucky person was determined to be a traveller aboard a flight from Saudi Arabia. Saudia flight SV846 landed in Bangkok from Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia. Some 357 people landed at 3pm and one lucky couple who had arrived with plans to travel to Phuket for 10 days was designated as the 10 millionth arrival.

They were awarded free flight tickets from Saudia Airlines, a free AOT Limousine transfer from the airport, and gift vouchers from luxury hotels like Andamanda Phuket, Vana Nava Hua Hin, and Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers. In addition, they also received vouchers from Hanuman World Phuket Zipline Park, and for shopping at Central Group, the Mall Group, CPN, King Power and Siam Piwat. Certificates for medical check-ups at MedPark Hospital and Bumrungrad Hospital were also included, along with virtual land from Bitkub.

The 10 million visitor milestone means that, with an average spending of about 50,000 baht per person per trip, tourism generated about 500 billion baht of revenue this year. While there are some predictions of a tourism slowdown at the beginning of next year after all the people who have been jonesing to get back to Thailand were able to do so, the target has been set at 20 million visitors and 1.5 trillion baht in revenue for 2023.

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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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