Thailand is expected to finish the first quarter of 2017 right on target with tourism revenue of 734 billion Baht (US$20.9 billion), up 9 per cent over the same period of 2016. The growth momentum is anticipated to continue through to the second quarter with an 11 per cent year-on-year increase on revenue to 630 billion Baht (US$18 billion), including 16.6 billion Baht (US$474 million) revenue targeted from tourism spending during the five-day Songkran holiday.
Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said, “In the first quarter, we’ve seen healthy growth from all source markets, and so we expect this growth momentum to continue into the second quarter. This expectation is based on a number of factors. Thailand will host the WTTC Global Summit 2017, from 26-27 April in Bangkok, and the Destination Wedding Planners Congress 2017, from 2-4 May in Phuket. TAT will also enhance our marketing efforts in China through a series of roadshow events that focus on the luxury, health and wellness, and new markets as well as through celebrity marketing under the “Experience Thailand with Mario” campaign.”
In the first quarter of 2017 (January-March), TAT expects Thailand to welcome 9.2 million international visitors and generate 490 billion Baht (US$14 billion), representing a year-on-year increase of 2 per cent and 7 per cent, respectively. Meanwhile, domestic tourism is expected to yield 32.5 million trips and 240 billion Baht (US$6.8 billion), a year-on-year growth of 8 per cent and 12 per cent, respectively.
The growth momentum is expected to continue through to the second quarter with a target year-on-year growth of 6 per cent or 8.02 million international visitor arrivals and 11 per cent to 400 billion Baht (US$11.42 billion). The potential top five markets in terms of revenue include China (120 billion Baht / US$3.4 billion, up 7 per cent), Russia (24 billion Baht / US$685 million, up 44 per cent), Malaysia (23 billion Baht / US$657 million, up 5 per cent), India (19 billion Baht / 542 million, up 18 per cent), and the UK (17 billion Baht / US$485 million, up 7 per cent).
As well as the hosting of major global events and a series of targetted marketing strategies in China and other key markets, TAT also bases its expectation for the second quarter growth on the number of forward bookings. Other contributing factors have included the new air routes from China and Russia, including Lion Air’s four flights per week on the Nanchang-Bangkok route, Kunming Airlines’ three flights per week on the Kunming-Hat Yai route, and Ural Airlines’ daily flight on the Novosibirsk-Bangkok route.
The extension of the visa fee waiver and reduction for visas on arrival for tourists from 21 countries until 31 August, this year, is expected to help Thailand maintain its popularity as the top destination in the region.
In addition, Thailand continues to win international awards and accolades as one of the best tourist destinations in the world. Recently, Bangkok was voted by CNN as one of the world’s 23 best cities for street food. Thailand was also ranked best in various country categories by the US News & World Report, Y&R’s BAV Consulting and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, including 26th in the world and 6th in Asia for best country, top spot for starting a new business, 7th for heritage, 8th for adventure, and 17th for cultural influence.
For the period of the five-day Songkran holiday, from 13-17 April, TAT expects Thailand to welcome at least 470,000 international visitors, up 10 per cent over the 2016 Songkran period, and generate some 8 billion Baht (US$228 million) in revenue, up 17 per cent. Meanwhile, domestic tourism is expected to contribute to 2.47 million trips (up 9.6 per cent) and generate 8.54 billion Baht (US$244 million), up 12.5 per cent.