Tourism sees strong start to the year with nearly 4 million arrivals so far
Thailand welcomed 128,969 foreign visitors on February 8, two days ahead of this year’s Chinese New Year, while total foreign arrivals this year nearly reached 4 million, Government Spokesperson Chai Wacharonke said on Saturday.
From January 1 to February 8, a total of 3,963,744 foreigners entered Thailand, Chai reported. Visitors from China topped the list with 730,747, followed by travellers from Malaysia (419,116), Russia (275,641), India (209,431) and Laos (130,551).
On February 8, a total of 27,951 Chinese tourists landed in Thailand, said Chai, adding that most of whom plan to celebrate China’s biggest holiday of the year on February 10 at various locations in Thailand, where Thai-Chinese descendants hold celebration activities to mark the traditional New Year.
He cited a survey by China’s tour agency Dida Travel, which found that bookings of hotels in Thailand among Chinese tourists during February 10-17 this year had jumped 243% compared to the same period last year.
“Factors contributing to the huge increase in Thailand’s travel could be the need to travel after outbreak restrictions have been lifted in China, and the [Thai] government’s free visa policy,” said Chai.
Starting in September last year, the Thai government started granting visa exemption to visitors from China and Kazakhstan, followed by India and Taiwan in November.
The visa waiver for Chinese and Kazakhs expires on February 29, but the Thailand-China visa waiver will continue under a bilateral deal to permanently remove visa requirements for visitors of both countries for up to 90 days from March 1.
Chai said that apart from attracting visitors from China, the government has been building positive relationships with ASEAN members to promote mutual tourism in the region. One of the notable initiatives is the “One Destination” project that aims to promote tourism in six countries among their citizens as well as global visitors, with participants including Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar.
“The significant rise in foreign arrivals is one of the results of the government’s efforts to promote the country’s tourism and economy,” said Chai. “Please be assured that more positive results will follow under the prime minister’s policies that are focused on stimulating the economy and increasing the earnings of all Thais.”