Prayut to welcome 10 millionth arrival of 2022
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will be present at Suvarnabhumi airport on Saturday to welcome this year's 10 millionth visitor and mark a milestone in fulfilling the tourism target, according to a government source.
Gen Prayut is due to extend his personal welcome to the 10 millionth visitor arriving on a flight from Saudi Arabia at the airport's Gate 10, according to the source.
The gesture is part of the Amazing Thailand 10 Million Celebrations event being organised by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to trumpet the country's success in meeting its visitor arrivals target this year.
The recovery in the tourism sector has been picking up pace in the past several months after the country reopened its borders earlier this year. The move came with the removal of health measures that hampered economic activities amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The tourism sector, brought to its knees by the pandemic for more than two years, is regaining its foothold due to the gradual return of air travel.
TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said that 9.78 million tourist arrivals were recorded from January to Dec 5.
He said this is a testament to the country's achievements in restoring its tourism sector -- one of the kingdom's most important industries. Thailand remains a favourite destination for both short-haul and long-haul travellers, he said.
The Amazing Thailand 10 Million Celebrations event -- also being held at Don Mueang, U-Tapao, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Krabi and Samui airports, as well as border checkpoints in Nong Khai and Sadao in Songkhla -- is a way of thanking visitors from around the world for travelling to Thailand and showing their confidence in the country's tourism industry, he said.
At the event, air travellers will be presented with gifts and souvenirs.
Despite the positivity, the TAT has voiced caution regarding the tourism outlook for next year.
Last month, the TAT said the sector could be faced with a slow market in the second quarter of next year as there will be no more pent-up flight demand, which fuelled the market this year.
Mr Yuthasak said the rapid rise in tourist arrivals is attributed mostly to tourists who were unable to travel for the past two or three years.
He said the bulk of tourists with a high degree of purchasing power have already started taking their trips this season and will continue to do so until March.
The country will have to wait until the next low season to see how Thai tourism copes with negative factors like the global recession, high travel costs and inflation, as there will be no other drivers like pent-up demand, he added.