BANGKOK, 2 April 2018: Thailand will welcome around 38.63 million tourists this year according to the latest Tourism Council of Thailand assessment based on first quarter travel estimates and trends.
TCT presents quarterly forward-looking assessments based on studies it commissions from Chulalongkorn University.
The Thailand Tourism Confidence Index take a benchmark score of 100 as a normal positive environment for tourism business growth.
Tourism Council of Thailand president, Ittirit Kingkrai, in his presentation late week painted positive outcomes for Thailand’s tourism without making a single reference to the threat of ‘overtourism,’ the negative impact on the environment and moves to close down some marine national parks to foster recovery.
Instead he concentrated his message on a strong recovery in the Thai economy on the back of rising exports and tourism.
“In the second quarter of the year, the confidence index of 100 will continue as normal,” he said.
TCT forecasts foreign tourist arrivals in 2018 are on target to reach 38.63 million, an increase of 9.16% over 2017, which closed with 35.38 million visits.
Revenue earned from tourism will reach THB 2.14 trillion up 17.37%.
In the first quarter of the year, TCT said foreign visits closed at around 9.84 million, an increase of 7.07% over the first quarter of 2017.
If security and the global economy continue to be stable, the second quarter will deliver 9.10 million visits, up 11.93%.
Looking at specific regional markets, Southeast Asian countries will deliver 2.66 million, an increase of 10.37%.
Visits from East Asia (including China) will reach 3.74 million, up 12.5% and Europe will supply 1.25 million, an increase of 10.62%.
TCT’s scorecard forecast will probably see visits reach 40 million by 2020, ahead of the more conservative World Travel & Tourism Council estimate that suggest that landmark will be passed in 2022. But by 2027, even WTTC estimates Thailand’s tourist head count is likely to reach 67.6 million.
TCT appears to have no problem with this meteoric rise in popularity as it mentors the travel industry to intensify its promotions and achieve more accolades from international ratings and garner more awards, especially those with green credentials.
But it does call on the government to improve and establish stronger transportation systems, while standardising and connecting travel systems.
Last week, the government said it has approved a project to build a high-speed rail link between three airports in central Thailand; Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang in Bangkok and U-tapao south of Pattaya to create a mega economic and tourism zone.
It has also designated a 200 km long stretch of coastline on the westside of the Gulf of Thailand, from Hua Hin to Chumphon, as a ‘royal tourism cluster” earmarked for an expansion of infrastructure and investment.