Government buoyant as tourist tally tops 10m
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Government buoyant as tourist tally tops 10m

Happy PM vows to keep queues short for visitors

Tourists visit the Grand Palace in February. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)
Tourists visit the Grand Palace in February. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)

More than 10 million foreign tourists have visited Thailand so far this year, bringing in more than 500 billion baht, according to the Tourism and Sports Ministry.

As of Sunday, a total of 10,723,953 foreign visitors were recorded, generating an income of 518 billion baht.

Chinese nationals formed the majority of foreign visitors at more than 2 million, followed by 1.39 million from Malaysia, 695,624 from Russia, 619,186 from South Korea and 546,935 from India, according to the ministry.

The ministry has also set a target of attracting 40 million foreign visitors this year, the same as the pre-pandemic figure recorded in 2019.

It has also projected an income of 3 trillion baht from both domestic and foreign tourists by the end of this year.

Last year, there were more than 28 million foreign arrivals, bringing in 1.2 trillion baht, according to the ministry.

The Tourism and Sports Minister, Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol, said that a total of 735,802 foreign travellers visited Thailand between April 8-14, or an average of 105,115 visitors to Thailand per day, compared to some 617,800 in the previous week, or an increase of about 19%.

During the period, Malaysian nationals formed the majority with 150,390, followed by 148,653 from China, 36,056 from India, 34,671 from Russia and 30,427 from South Korea, she said.

Ms Sudawan added that the number of foreign visitors is expected to continue to rise due to factors such as the end of Ramadan, which many predict will see a surge in tourists from Malaysia, as well as the free-visa agreements with some countries.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin expressed delight at the news that more than 10 million tourists have visited already this year.

"Things have improved. The figures have increased by more than 140% compared to the previous year. I believe this year will see a huge number of foreign visitors to Thailand. I also hope that officials will improve immigration control systems to ensure visitors avoid long queues and lengthy waits."

Mr Srettha was speaking as he visited former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and poured water on the his hand to mark the Songkran festival at Thaksin's Chan Song La residence.

Mr Srettha said the information he had received from immigration offices and tourism agencies had been positive. "During Songkran, the tourism industry has received a huge boost with a substantial amount of money circulating," he added.

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