The tourism sector needs to maintain its momentum in the final two months of the year to reach its revenue target of 2.38 trillion baht as total receipts tallied 1.67 trillion for the first 10 months, says the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).
The agency is preparing to intensify promotional campaigns, supporting 3,000 local and international activities across Thailand during the festive season to create momentum for 2024, which has a revenue target of 3 trillion baht, said Thapanee Kiatphaibool, the TAT governor.
She said the prospects for 2024 are more promising than this year, which has been marred by geopolitical conflicts in the Middle East and the shooting at a Bangkok mall.
Ms Thapanee said ease of travel, particularly the visa exemption recently extended to Taiwanese and Indian travellers from Nov 10 until May 2024, following similar efforts for the Chinese and Kazakh markets, is expected to have a larger effect next year.
In the first 10 months this year, receipts from foreign arrivals tallied 963 billion baht from 21.8 million visitors, while domestic revenue was 710 billion from 194 million trips.
In terms of foreign arrivals, there were 15.8 million from short-haul markets, led by Malaysia (3.3 million), China (2.7 million), South Korea (1.3 million), India (1.28 million) and Laos (903,268).
The long-haul market had 6 million travellers, led by Russia (1.09 million), the US (697,613), the UK (617,017), Germany (525,322) and France (424,474).
From November to early next year, she said there will be five main events to increase expenditure, including the Loy Krathong festival, Vijit Chao Phraya 2023 (the light show presented to leaders at the Apec summit last year), Amazing Thailand Passport Privileges (targeting shoppers), Amazing Thailand Marathon Bangkok 2023 and Amazing Thailand Countdown 2024.
Ms Thapanee said while the target of 3 trillion baht next year is challenging, it is feasible as major markets such as Malaysia could outperform their 2019 tally this year.
Seat capacity has also improved in key markets, she said. For instance, the number of flights from Kazakhstan increased from 14 to 40 in recent months as demand grew, prompted by the visa exemption.
The Indian market is expected to reach 1.67 million arrivals this year as the visa-free scheme helps to draw an additional 110,000 tourists during the last two months, which coincides with the Diwali holiday in November, said Ms Thapanee.
With the average load factor on Indian routes at 65-70%, the agency forecasts it will reach 100% from increasing demand in the final months.
Indian arrivals are projected to surpass next year the 1.96 million recorded in 2019, according to the TAT. The government is trying to negotiate with India to increase aviation rights between the two countries, as the quotas of Thai airlines are fully occupied.
She said the Taiwanese market also recorded a strong recovery in seat capacity at 94% of the 2019 level.
The visa-free policy for this market should increase the arrival tally by 20% this year to 750,000, or 96% of the level in 2019, said Ms Thapanee.