Travel leaders optimistic for growth after Thailand’s strong first half

Tourists at Wat Jedi Luang, Chiang Mai

Industry players are hopeful that Thailand is on track to welcome over 35 million tourists in 2017, exceeding Tourism Authority of Thailand’s targeted 34 million.

Ittirit Kinglek, president of the Tourism Council of Thailand, expects 35.1 million tourists to the country this year, up 7.8 per cent from 2016, while tourism revenue is projected to increase 9.8 per cent to 1.8 trillion baht (US$54.6 billion).

Tourists at Wat Jedi Luang, Chiang Mai

With close to 17 million arrivals recorded for Thailand in 1H2017, Vichit Prakobgosol, president of the Association of Thai Travel Agents, told TTG Asia that signs are pointing towards better performance in the second half.

So far this year, tourists mostly came from Asia including China, South-east Asia, Japan, South Korea and India, each generally showing growth of around five-10 per cent over last year. Vietnam and South Korea saw larger increases of 20-30 per cent.

However, Vichit still has concerns such as tourist safety, accessibility, orderliness of tourist attractions and currency exchange movements.

“We hope to welcome more quality, long-staying tourists as well as distributing income to secondary provinces,” he added.

According to Ittirit, the confidence index of tour operators in Thailand for 3Q2017 will remain around the level observed in 2Q2017. At a score of 101, it is a normal level considering that the global economy is still in recession.

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