Domestic tourism in Thailand has bounced back 93% compared to 2019, the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).
The TAT expects domestic tourists will make 160 million trips this year, according to Suladda Sarutilavan, director of the TAT's Chiang Mai office.
On Tuesday Ms Suladda told a press conference that the overall tourism situation in Thailand and Chiang Mai has steadily improved this year.
She said domestic tourism has recovered by 93% compared to that of 2019, and it is estimated that Thailand will generate 808.2 billion baht in tourism-related revenue by the end of this year, a 75% increase from 2019.
The main factors contributing to tourism's recovery include the announcement by the World Health Organisation declaring the end of the Covid-19 pandemic as a global health emergency and the government's tourism incentives, such as adding more public holidays and campaigns disbursing discounts or organising events for tourists, said Ms Suladda.
In Chiang Mai, a light show was held from July 24-30 as a part of the "Vijitr 5 Regions" project by the TAT to promote tourist attractions. Ms Sunadda revealed that over 70,000 visitors attended the event.
Chiang Mai saw about 6.3 million visitors from Jan-July, with about 4.1 million of them being Thai nationals and 2.1 million foreigners. The hotel occupancy rate was 74.42%. The province was reported to have received over 62.8 billion baht in tourism revenue.
The TAT's Chiang Mai office also estimates that tourism revenue will reach 80 billion baht by the end of this year with an over 80% recovery rate compared to 2019, Ms Suladda said.
According to Chiang Mai International Airport, the top five visitors to Chiang Mai by nationality are Chinese, South Korean, Taiwanese, Malaysian and American, respectively. The TAT has also conducted campaigns for domestic tourism incentives in 2024, aiming to generate over 1.08 trillion baht in tourism revenue and see domestic tourists making 200 million trips.
Ms Suladda said the plans will encourage tourists to visit major and minor cities and promote travelling during weekdays. The TAT will also promote traditional culture and local events in order to push Thailand's soft power, leading to sustainable income for locals.
The TAT's plans follow sustainable development goals and Thailand's National Economic and Social Development Plan to promote sustainable tourism.