Tourist arrivals through Nov 30 reach 9.4 million

Tourist arrivals through Nov 30 reach 9.4 million

TAT chief says full-year target of 10 million international visitors likely to be exceeded

Travellers pack the arrivals hall at Suvarnabhumi airport in October. (Somchai Poomlard)
Travellers pack the arrivals hall at Suvarnabhumi airport in October. (Somchai Poomlard)

Thailand recorded about 9.4 million foreign tourist arrivals from January to November and should see at least 10 million for the full year, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said on Friday.

The country is currently seeing about 50,000 to 60,000 foreign tourists per day during the high season, TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn told Reuters.

So far this year, Malaysia has been the country’s biggest source market, with 1.5 million arrivals, he added.

"But we are seeing a shift in the number of long-distance tourists like more Russians coming to Thailand ... as they escape the cold weather to travel to Thailand," he said.

While Russia is not still in the top five source markets, the number of tourists has moved up since October, when direct flights became available to Bangkok and Phuket, Mr Yuthasak said.

Before the pandemic, Russia was in the top five, with nearly 2 million visitors a year, he said.

A revival of tourism, which accounts for about 18% of gross domestic product directly and indirectly, is seen as a key driver of economic growth. The central bank predicts 10.5 million foreign arrivals this year, 22 million in 2023 and 34 million in 2024.

That compared with only 428,000 foreign visitors last year, and nearly 40 million in 2019, before the pandemic struck.

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