PM Srettha eyes 3.5 trillion baht in tourism revenue for 2024
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has revised next year’s tourism revenue target to 3.5 trillion baht, an increase of 500 billion baht and a new high, according to Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor Thapanee Kiatphaibool.
This tourism revenue target is based on the assumption that the Thai tourism sector can fully recover to pre-Covid levels by next year.
In terms of the proportion of revenue between domestic and international travel, the projection means that in the next year, international markets must generate 2.5 trillion baht, an increase of 500 billion baht from the current target of 2 trillion baht, leading to the future target of 3 trillion baht, according to the policy of Tourism and Sports Minister Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol. The revenue target for the domestic market remains the same at 1 trillion baht.
TAT is still aiming for total tourism revenue of 2.38 trillion baht in 2023, representing an 80% recovery compared to 2019. This includes 25-28 million foreign tourists generating revenue of 1.6 trillion baht and 200 million Thai visitors (including tourists and day trippers) meeting a revenue target of 800 billion baht.
Regarding tourist statistics in the first 10 months of this year (January 1 - October 31), the accumulated total tourism revenue reached 1.67 trillion baht. This came from 22 million foreign tourists, generating 963.14 billion baht, with Thais making up the balance with 710.87 billion baht. However, if the overall 2023 target is to be achieved, an additional 700 billion baht in revenue must be generated in the last two months of this year. While challenging, efforts will be made to achieve the target, mainly by encouraging longer stays from tourists to increase spending in the country.
TAT Governor Thapanee added that government support measures will help stimulate the tourism sector, especially in the following areas.
1. Ease of travel: The TAT has gradually announced measures related to visa exemption policies for tourism. This temporary visa exemption is for targeted markets in three phases, starting with the first phase for Chinese and Kazakhstani tourists, which allows visa-free stays of up to 30 days over a period of 5 months, from September 25 to February 29, 2024. The second phase for Russian tourists extends the stay to a maximum of 90 days from the previous 30 days, for a period of 6 months, from November 1 to April 30, and the third phase covering Indian and Taiwanese tourists allows visa-free stays of up to 30 days, with a maximum period of 6 months, from November 10 to May 10.
Visa exemption has also been introduced at immigration zone 6 at the Sadao border checkpoint, Songkhla province and runs through April 30, facilitating travellers primarily from Malaysia. The government is currently studying potential measures for other border checkpoints, such as Betong in Yala province, Sungai Kolok in Narathiwat and Wangprachan in Satun.
2. Expansion of targeted markets: strong growth has been observed in markets such as Russia, South Korea, Vietnam, the United States and the Middle East, primarily due to increased diplomatic ties between Thailand and Saudi Arabia. The Chinese market, meanwhile, despite the visa-free measures since the end of September 2023, remains marginally weaker, with approximately 8,000-9,000 daily arrivals. However, TAT anticipates a continuous positive trend, with Chinese arrivals reaching over 10,000 per day in November. In the first 10 months, the Chinese market brought approximately 2.8 million arrivals.
3. Communication and marketing campaigns: The TAT will launch a marketing and image campaign. A new tagline with the concept “Meaningful Relationship” will be introduced at the upcoming World Travel Market (WTM), the world’s second-largest tourism trade show, which kicks off in London on November 6. This campaign aims to convey meaningful messages about tourism. In December, another campaign titled “Thailand Always Cares” will be launched to communicate the image that Thailand's tourism sector cares about tourists from all markets.
4. Economic stimulus measures: The highlight is the organisation of activities and events. On November 10, Srettha will preside over a press conference to promote “soft power” through festivals. One of the highlights is the organisation of the “Colourful Bangkok Winter Festival” this month and next in the capital. This is being put together with the collaboration of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, TAT, the Ministry of Culture, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), and the National Soft Power Committee and features five main events, namely: Colourful Waterway Activity: Floating Lantern Festival 2023; Vijit Chao Phraya Activity 2023; Amazing Thailand Passport Privileges Activity; Amazing Thailand Marathon Bangkok 2023; and Amazing Thailand Countdown 2024.
Prime Minister Srettha has emphasised the importance of elevating activities and events from local to international levels. During the last two months of this year, more than 3,000 activities and events will take place nationwide, organised by both public and private sectors, the TAT governor said.