Tourism revenue this year is likely to tally 2.07 trillion baht, missing the target set by the state by 300 billion baht because of sluggish international receipts, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).
TAT governor Thapanee Kiatphaibool said the number of foreign arrivals this year exceeded 25 million as of Dec 3.
However, revenue from foreign arrivals was only 1.07 trillion baht as of Dec 3, significantly lower than the state target of 1.6 trillion baht for the whole year.
She said the agency estimates 2 million foreign tourists would arrive in December, spending 100-200 billion baht during the festive season that includes several winter events. The final month of the year should raise total international receipts to 1.17-1.27 trillion baht.
Domestic tourism outperformed international markets, recording 228 million trips so far this year, exceeding the state target of 220 million trips.
By the end of this year, Thai travellers are expected to have made 240 million trips, generating 800 billion baht.
Post-pandemic Thais have travelled more often, but with a tighter budget, said Ms Thapanee.
Thailand's tourism revenue this year is projected to reach 2.07 trillion baht, missing its target of 2.38 trillion, noted the TAT.
Ms Thapanee said spending among foreign visitors is 42,000 baht per trip, higher than the level recorded prior to the pandemic, but below its projection of 50,000 baht per trip.
Long-haul tourists, such as those arriving from Russia and Israel, spent more on average during their time in the country than other markets.
Visitors from Malaysia, Thailand's largest inbound market, which is expected to account for 4.5 million arrivals this year, mostly reduced the length of their stay per trip, but were travelling to Thailand more often this year.
The number of Chinese visitors is expected to total 3.4-3.5 million this year, missing the TAT forecast of more than 4 million.
She said without the visa exemption, the situation could have been worse, as domestic travel in China has been flourishing with cheaper prices available than most overseas trips.
Next year, the agency plans to propose extending the visa exemptions for Chinese and other major markets, along with encouraging visitors from short-haul countries to stay longer in Thailand, said Ms Thapanee.
The TAT already proposed extending visa-free stays for countries eligible for visa exemptions, similar to the government extension of stays for Russian travellers to 90 days from 30 days.
The agency also wants to hold discussions with the Foreign Affairs Ministry on offering multiple-entry visa for travellers holding tourist visas in an effort to encourage them to spend more during their trip, she said.