Tourism remains robust with arrivals up 7.5 percent
Thailand’s appeal defied some dire predictions during 2018 as tourist arrivals rose 7.5 percent through the first eleven months despite global economic uncertainties, a few domestic setbacks, and increasing competition, providing ample evidence that the wonders of the Kingdom still amaze global travelers.
The stellar results put the Kingdom on track to reach its goal of welcoming 35 million visitors in 2018. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) forecast that visitors from the United States would exceed 1 million at year’s end, placing it among ten countries with over 1 million tourists touching down in Thailand.
“We are overjoyed to have this result in the last quarter of 2018. The 35 million visitor target is now set to be met,” said TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn. “It is a tribute to the cooperation and creativity of the entire Thai travel and tourism industry to ensure that it remains our primary sector for job creation, distribution of income nationwide, and contribution to cultural, heritage and environmental preservation.”
As impressive as the increase in visitors was, the rise in their spending made an even greater impact. The Kingdom reeled in over $55 billion in tourism revenues through the first 11 months of the year for a gain of 9.79 percent over the same period in 2017. A total of 34,431,489 foreign visitors chose the Kingdom for their holiday during that time.
It was especially gratifying news to those in Thailand’s tourism industry. Some commentators had expressed concerns over a possible downturn due to several factors. They included a decrease in travel and spending by consumers becoming more cautious because of economic uncertainties, and emerging destinations in Thailand’s region stepping up their marketing to tourists.
Thailand has been able to capitalize on the last factor by serving as a jumping off point to nearby destinations, easing travel requirements, and working with neighboring countries on joint promotions.
On safety, the government and private sector took strong steps to improve inspections and enforcement and reassure visitors. In fact, Thailand’s safety record is comparable to or better than most nations at a similar level of development.
Thailand ended up receiving 7.86 percent more tourists from China, Thailand’s largest source market in 2018. Malaysia and South Korea provided the second and third largest numbers of visitors to Thailand last year. Despite the distance and long traveling times, tourists from the United States ranked eighth in total numbers.