Thailand targets 80m foreign tourists per year – 10m more than population


Thailand is eyeing up to 80 million foreign tourists per year by 2027, twice the number in 2019 and far exceeding the Thai population of 70 million.

Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn set the five-year target on Thursday, aiming to generate 5 trillion baht in annual revenue by 2027 – almost tripling the 1.93 trillion baht generated by foreign arrivals in 2019.

This year, the ministry expects to see at least 25 million foreign tourists land in Thailand, helping the sector recover to 60% of pre-pandemic level. Total revenue from domestic and foreign tourists in 2023 is forecast at 2.4 trillion baht, or 80% of the level before Covid-19, driven by China arrivals after the country scrapped travel restrictions on January 8.

“Before 2027 arrives, we have to prepare our personnel and resources to welcome [more] foreign tourists,” said Phiphat, adding that his ministry will coordinate with the Labour Ministry to build up the size and skills of the tourism workforce.

Phitphat said that besides addressing the shortage of skilled tourism workers, Thailand needs to boost security and safety to welcome a high volume of foreign arrivals. This would require coordination between the ministry, related agencies and the general public.

Last year saw 11.81 million foreign tourists visit Thailand, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), helping generate total revenue from domestic and international tourists of 1.5 trillion baht.

The TAT said most foreign visitors last year came from Malaysia (1.95 million), followed by India (965,994), Laos (844,959), Cambodia (591,657) and Singapore (589,770).