10m foreign tourists since January: govt

10m foreign tourists since January: govt

Number of flights from China rising

Tourists visit Wat Arun, or the Temple of Dawn, in Bangkok last month.(Photo: PORNPROM SATRABHAYA)
Tourists visit Wat Arun, or the Temple of Dawn, in Bangkok last month.(Photo: PORNPROM SATRABHAYA)

Thailand has welcomed almost 10 million foreign tourists since January, generating about 391 billion baht in revenue. The government expects the number of Chinese tourists to reach 7 million this year.

Traisulee Taisaranakul, deputy government spokeswoman, said on Saturday that 9.47 million foreign tourists visited Thailand from January to May 15, mainly from East Asia, South Asia and Southeast Asia.

The government has ordered affiliated agencies to enhance support for incoming tourists, particularly Chinese visitors, to boost tourism growth.

According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Thailand expects to see over 5.3 million Chinese tourists visiting the country. The figure might even reach seven million if supported by other tourism incentives, Ms Traisulee added.

Aeronautical Radio of Thailand (Aerothai) also said there were 12,805 flights from China to Thailand during October 2022 to April, 2023, an increase of 98% compared to the same period the former year.

Chinese tourist numbers rose after China's announcement on Feb 6 that it would allow international travel via travel agencies.

Aerothai anticipates an increase in the number of flights from China until September this year. It estimates 5,330 flights in May, 6,090 flights in June, 7,150 flights in July, 7,460 flights in August and 7,340 flights in September.

The total estimated number of Chinese flights coming to Thailand during the 2023 fiscal year, from October last year to September this year, is 46,175, said Ms Traisulee.

Meanwhile, the Economics Tourism and Sports Division of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports said there were 415,309 foreign tourists visiting Thailand during May 8-14, or almost 59,329 people per day.

Most are from Southeast Asia, East Asia and South Asia. The top-five international tourists arriving in Thailand by nationality are Malaysians, Chinese, Indians, Lao and South Koreans, making up to 47.5% of all international tourists.

The division said that even though Thailand is entering its low season and the number of tourists is expected to fall gradually, there are many incentives to attract foreign tourists.

Nonetheless, Thailand's tourism also is affected by external factors including the world economy, which is facing negative pressure from the US debt ceiling talks, high inflation and the Russian-Ukrainian War, said the division.

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