Thailand could earn up to 2.38 trillion baht in tourism revenue in 2023, an official said yesterday.
The government hopes the sector will resume its key role in the Thai economy next year, with the aim of tourism reaching 80% of the 2019 pre-pandemic level, said government spokesperson Anucha Burapachaisri.
The sector is expected to generate revenue of 1.73 trillion baht next year, with 970 billion baht coming from foreign visitors, and the remainder from local tourists.
In the best-case scenario, the sector's total revenue could reach 2.38 trillion baht, of which 1.5 trillion baht would be from international tourists, Mr Anucha added.
In 2019 the tourism sector welcomed nearly 40 million visitors, and foreign travellers' spending accounted for 12% of Thai GDP.
The tourism sector earned 3.38 trillion baht in 2019, of which 2.21 trillion baht was from foreign visitors' spending and the rest from domestic tourists.
The number of foreign tourists plummeted to 6.7 million in 2020 when the pandemic broke out, before further sliding to around 400,000 in 2021. The sharp fall led to Thailand's revenue from foreign tourists declining to around 40 billion baht in 2021.
Following the country's reopening, the number of foreign tourist arrivals has surged to more than 5 million so far this year. The number of tourist arrivals in September alone is expected to be more than 1 million.
Thailand is targeting 10 million foreign tourist arrivals for the whole of 2022.
Mr Anucha urged all related parties to join forces to accommodate the rising number of tourists.
Mr Anucha said that the government welcomed airlines' adjustment of their business plans to cater to rising number of tourists.
The number of tourists is expected to surge in the high season, which runs from the fourth quarter of this year to early 2023.