Thailand is forecast to welcome 30 million visitors this year, according to the country’s Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha. This would bring tourist activity in Thailand much closer to 2019 levels, when the number of foreign visitors reached over 40 million.
Government spokesperson, Anucha Burapachaisri, said:
The prime minister is confident that tourist numbers will even exceed 30 million.
Last year, the Southeast Asian travel hotspot exceeded targets by welcoming over 11 million international visitors. While this year’s tourism target is a big step up, there are a number of factors that make its success likely.
Firstly, the reopening of Chinese borders will significantly increase tourist numbers in Thailand in 2023. The country has seen around 100,000 tourists from China so far, as of the 2nd of February. Around 5-7 million more Chinese visitors are expected this year, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
Another factor boosting tourist numbers in Thailand is the extension of visa-free access, which the government enacted in October. Travellers from more than 50 countries can now visit Thailand for 45 days, up from 30 days, without having to present a visa on arrival. The requirement to show proof of vaccination or test results on arrival was also dropped in October last year.
Tourist numbers in Thailand jumped 43% in October, compared to the previous month, totalling 3.1 million.
In place until 31 March, Thailand’s new “no-visa” rules are set to boost the country’s tourism industry right into 2023 with the promise of longer stays, increased spending, and greater tourist numbers.
Many of Thailand’s travel restrictions were still in place in the first half of 2022—making its recovery even more impressive. The country welcomed its tenth million visitor in early December, marking a substantial increase from 427,000 visitors in 2021.
It seems that, now the pandemic has cleared, Thailand remains top of mind for global travellers, and 2023 is set to be an exciting year.
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