Upbeat Tourism Council expects over 12 million foreign visitors this year
The Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT) is confident that more than 12 million foreigners will visit the country this year.
TCT president Chamnan Srisawat said the tourism sector needs to welcome 12 million to 16 million foreign tourists to survive.
This number, he pointed out, is 30 to 40 per cent of total visitors before the Covid pandemic or 40 million in 2019.
Chamnan said he was confident Thailand would see more than 12 million foreign tourists this year, while the government sector has a set a target of attracting 10 million.
The country saw only 2 million international arrivals in the first half but more than 1 million came in July, Chamnan noted, adding that he expected the number of tourists to shoot past the 1-million mark both in August and September.
As for the high season from October to December, he expected more than 2 million foreigners to visit the country each month.
Chamnan said the tourism sector is waiting for a 1.03-billion-baht budget from the government in the form of a “booster shot” to help the industry recover.
Tourism and Sports Minister Pipat Ratchakitprakarn said his ministry is requesting the government to provide 2 billion baht, with 1 billion being used to stimulate the sector while another 1 billion will be used to support sport tourism.
Pipat said Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan told him he is waiting for the National Sports Development Fund manager to answer whether there is enough money to boost the tourism industry.
The tourism minister said he believed that budget is enough and is waiting for money which he hopes will be available from October 1.
As for the so-called “booster”, he said the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has sent a plan to the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council and is awaiting approval from the Centre for Economic Situation Administration.
The budget will be used to attract 10 million foreign visitors this year and boost the number of domestic trips to 160 million to generate 1.2 trillion baht in income.
TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said 3,977,631 foreign tourists visited Thailand from January 1 to August 15, with the daily number of tourists being around 35,000 to 40,000 on average. He expected the figure to reach 4.5 million by August 31.
Meanwhile, the number of domestic trips is increasing, touching 60 million in the first six months.
He said TAT had asked the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration to approve visa extensions for foreign travellers:
- From 30 days to 45 for visas for visitors from 56 countries.
- From 15 days to 30 for those entering with a Visa on Arrival.
TAT wants arrival cards scrapped for visitors coming through land borders with Laos and Malaysia as a lot of tourists are arriving via the two countries.
Yuthasak said TAT also expects Chinese tourists to be allowed to visit Thailand at the end of the year as the government there has eased several anti-Covid measures.
Moreover, the Chinese government is allowing local organisations to consider whether people can travel out of their provinces.
TAT speculated that increasing interest rates will not affect tourists’ decision to travel and the authority will not adjust its goal of foreign and domestic travellers because it believes they would still travel but cut down on expenses.
Yuthasak added that TAT is more worried about the increasing fuel prices.