TAT: Tourist arrivals to beat target by 15%

Year-end rush from Europe and US helping lift 2022 total to about 11.5 million

Tourists walk along a beach at Khao Lak in Phangnga province in July. (Bangkok Post File Photo)
Tourists walk along a beach at Khao Lak in Phangnga province in July. (Bangkok Post File Photo)

Foreign tourist arrivals to the country are on track to exceed the government’s 2022 target by 15%, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

A year-end rush of visitors from Europe and the United States is expected to push the total to 11.5 million, compared to a target of 10 million, TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said on Friday.

The country had already recorded 10.9 million foreign arrivals through Dec 20, with a rush of people expected in the final days of 2022, he added.

Arrivals have been picking up steadily since midyear, as almost all Covid-related restrictions have been lifted, giving a boost to the economy. About 12% of the country’s gross domestic product came through foreign tourism before the pandemic, according to government data.

Revenue from the tourism sector, including domestic travellers, will reach 1.5 trillion baht in 2022, about half the pre-Covid level, Mr Yuthasak said. International visitors alone should generate that amount next year, he said, with overall revenue forecast at 2.38 trillion baht when domestic travel is included.

The TAT has kept its target for foreign visitors in 2023 unchanged at 20 million — half the record tally in 2019.

The top markets this year have been Malaysia, India, Laos, Cambodia and Singapore, Mr Yuthasak said, adding that people from Europe and the US are rising up the ranks as they trade the cold winter for the country’s tropical climate.