The tourism industry will enjoy good business in the fourth quarter due mainly to December's long holiday periods, predicts the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT).
The tourism confidence index is expected to rise to 104 points from 88 points in the third quarter.
The index, which is based on responses from 600 tourism operators nationwide, will shoot up to 120 points on the long New Year weekend and 110 points on Constitution Day.
December has many holidays including Constitution Day, His Majesty the King's birthday and New Year's Eve.
The index of 88 points for the third quarter was lower than the expected 92 points due to high competition, economic uncertainty and concern over higher operating costs.
Convenient travel, development of tourism sites and effective promotion of destinations have boosted prospects for tourism in the fourth quarter.
The growth of low-cost airlines in the country is also helping tourism, said 60% of respondents.
In the fourth quarter, the tourism index records 109 points for restaurants, 108 for spa and massage providers and 104 for hotels. The transport sector, with 93 points, is slightly lower than normal.
The TCT's recent survey of 300 domestic tourists found 53% plan to travel in the last quarter.
The most popular destinations are Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Nakhon Ratchasima, Phuket, Krabi, Rayong, Hua Hin and Cha-am.
They plan to travel from Dec 28-Jan 1 _ 70% by car and 45% by public transport.
Some 74% want tourism operators to improve security, followed by cleanliness (68%) and services (51%).
The TCT predicts the number of international arrivals in the final quarter will increase to 5.76 million.
Asean arrivals will grow by 11.3% year-on-year to 1.7 million, Europeans by 4.17% to 1.41 million and East Asians by 15.4% to 1.79 million.
Arrivals for the full year are expected to increase by 15.4% from last year to 21.7 million.
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- Writer: Chadamas Chinmaneevong