Thailand is aiming to become a top destination for Muslim tourists from other countries by 2027, according to deputy government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek.
She said on Friday that Muslim tourists are one of the biggest targets for the country's tourism sector due to their growing numbers and high purchasing power.
More than 3 million Muslim tourists visited the country last year, a massive jump when compared with 875,043 in 2017, she said, citing Department of Tourism (DoT) data, adding on average, a Muslim visitor stays for 13 days and spends about 6,000 baht per day.
To further promote the kingdom among Muslim tourists, the DoT has announced a five-year plan (2023–2027) to focus on improving the service quality of tourism operators to meet international standards, she said.
This includes introducing halal goods, services and activities that meet the needs of Muslim tourists and implementing technology to facilitate travellers, she said.
The DoT is working closely with related sectors to identify how to support Muslim visitors and promote Thailand as a Muslim-friendly tourist destination, she said.
This strategic plan is expected to help the country become one of the top destinations for Muslim tourists in the next five years, Ms Rachada said.
"The government sees the importance of opening for the Muslim tourism market," she said. "We hope the policy can be carried on by the new government."
According to the Mastercard-Crescentrating Global Muslim Travel Index 2023, Indonesia and Malaysia are tied for the number one spot, followed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey.
Meanwhile, Thailand has welcomed more than 16.472 million international tourists since Jan 1, bringing 689 billion baht for the country, according to the Tourism and Sports Ministry's Economics Tourism and Sports Division.
The top five groups are from Malaysia (2,581,251), China (2,027,823), South Korea (982,328), India (947,431) and Russia (884,839), it said.
From Aug 7–13, the country welcomed 577,136 foreign tourists, with the number of Japanese and Indian tourists increasing by 84.36% and 22.54% from last week, respectively, it said.
For this week, the ministry estimates that the country will welcome about 570,000 international tourists with the majority of them from East Asia, South Asia and Southeast Asia.