Tourism resilient despite baht
August revenue grew 12% year-on-year
Tourism has not yet been affected by the strong baht, with the number of tourist arrivals in August rising 8.66% year-on-year to 3.13 million.
Pongpanu Svetarundra, permanent secretary for the Tourism and Sports Ministry, said visitors in August generated 163 billion baht in revenue, up 11.7% from the same month a year earlier.
In August, the number of visitors from East Asia increased 10% from a year earlier to 2.26 million, with nearly 1 million from China, up 10.3%.
Numbers from the Middle East rose 19.4% to 103,784 in August, while those from Europe were flat, at 437,739.
Mr Pongpanu said Thailand welcomed 23.54 million foreign tourists from January to August, up 5.36% from the same period last year.
Revenue from foreign tourists in the first eight months rose 7.47% to 1.19 trillion baht.
The government has forecast about 35 million tourist arrivals this year, an increase from 2016's record 32.6 million.
Tourism accounts for 12% of Thailand's GDP.
He said the baht's strength has not yet affected tourism, but asked the central bank to keep the currency from appreciating further.
The baht has risen by 8.2% against the dollar this year, the top-performing currency in Asia, underpinned by foreign inflows and record reserves of almost US$200 billion.
In a related development, Thailand, the Philippines, and Japan are jointly organising "Asean+3 Tourism Youth Summit 2017," aiming to empower youngsters of the three countries to maximise their engagement, particularly in the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions segment as well as community-based tourism.
The event is scheduled for Thailand during Sept 18-24, the Philippines during Sept 24-30 and in Japan during Oct 17-20.
The summit is an offshoot of the Asean+3 Tourism Cooperation Work Plan 2013-2017 adopted during the 12th meeting of the Asean+3 (China, Japan and South Korea) Tourism Ministers in January 2013 in Vientiane.
The Philippines and Thailand were selected as lead country coordinators for the summit.
Anan Wongbenjarat, deputy permanent secretary for the Tourism and Sports Ministry, said Thailand recently launched a new national tourism campaign called Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018 to help the industry next year, with a focus on the uniqueness and cultural values of Thailand.
The campaign aims to bring in more quality tourists, maintain the country's traditional tourism markets, create higher economic value and distribute tourism income to various regions of the country.
Apart from the domestic market, the new campaign is also targeting international markets such as China, India, Asean, East Asia and Europe. Activities to mark Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018 begin next month and continue until the end of next year.