Thailand visitor arrivals projected to surpass 39 million

Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports expects more than 39 million visitors will touch down in the country when the final totals are tallied in 2019 for an increase of over 4 percent compared to last year.

The figures are a testament to the enduring appeal and resilience of Thailand as one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. The country is achieving this success despite concerns over a slowing global economy, the rise of competitors, and the strengthening of the Thai currency, baht, which has made travel to Thailand more expensive.

The Ministry of Tourism and Sports reported that 32.5 million foreign people arrived through immigration checkpoints from January through October, up 4.29 percent year-on-year. The remaining two months, November and December, are part of Thailand’s high season for tourism, and so the ministry expects even greater numbers of visitors.

Some in Thailand’s hospitality industry, however, question the Ministry’s statistics because they do not differentiate between tourists, business travelers, and long-term expatriate residents. Many countries include business travelers in tourism statistics.

When the Ministry factors in a 5 percent increase in arrivals during the two remaining months of this year, it projects another 7.3 million visitors. The sum would give the country nearly 40 million arrivals for the entire year.

Likewise, the ministry estimates revenue from tourism during the ten months of 2019 at $52 million up 3.27 percent year-on-year.

Even if the increase during the final two months would only be 4 percent, visits would still surpass the 39 million mark that was this year’s targeted total. The 2020 target will be slightly higher than 40 million if current travel trends remain favorable.

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