Ever more tourists arriving in Thailand

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Thailand’s economy is relying more than ever on growing tourism influx to the country, mainly owing to a rapidly increasing number of Chinese tourists. The visitor boom remains remarkable given that Thailand has been bothered by political unrest on a large scale over the past twelve years, and the atmosphere remained subdued for months after the passing-away of King Rama 9, Bhumibol Adulyadej, in October last year.

According to the tourism ministry, the total number of foreign tourists visiting Thailand rose by up to per cent in the period from January to June 2017 compared with the same period last year.

Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said Thailand saw around 18 million tourist arrivals in the said period, adding that the figure was partly driven by medical tourism.

For the full year 2017, Thailand expects to welcome another record number of foreign tourists of around 34.4 million after 32 million arrivals in 2016, which was already twice as much as seven years ago and the most for a single country in Southeast Asia.

The Thai government calculates that the core tourism sector this year should generate revenues worth 1.78 trillion baht (around $50 billion). Last year, the sector earned Thailand $45.9 billion, officially representing over ten per cent of the nation’s GDP which for some analysts is already on a risky level given the assumption that the real figure including unrecorded businesses of various kinds is more towards 12 or even 15 per cent.

But tourism is one of the only few bright spots of the Thai economy. Last year, Thailand’s entire economy grew just 3.2 per cent, only half of the 6.5 per cent growth recorded in 2012, and the outlook for 2017 and 2018 is rather flat while foreign investment remains subdued and Thailand’s other main economic sectors, including manufacturing and export of vehicles, electronics and garment products are missing impulses from the government. Agriculture, in turn, is struggling with volatile commodity prices.

Analysts say that the biggest task the current military government (or, the succeeding civilian government, at some point), is to diversify the economy in a better way to decrease the dependence on just one a main driver of growth in order to dampen the impact of a possible crash in such a sector.

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Thailand's economy is relying more than ever on growing tourism influx to the country, mainly owing to a rapidly increasing number of Chinese tourists. The visitor boom remains remarkable given that Thailand has been bothered by political unrest on a large scale over the past twelve years, and the atmosphere remained subdued for months after the passing-away of King Rama 9, Bhumibol Adulyadej, in October last year. According to the tourism ministry, the total number of foreign tourists visiting Thailand rose by up to per cent in the period from January to June 2017 compared with the same period last...

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Thailand’s economy is relying more than ever on growing tourism influx to the country, mainly owing to a rapidly increasing number of Chinese tourists. The visitor boom remains remarkable given that Thailand has been bothered by political unrest on a large scale over the past twelve years, and the atmosphere remained subdued for months after the passing-away of King Rama 9, Bhumibol Adulyadej, in October last year.

According to the tourism ministry, the total number of foreign tourists visiting Thailand rose by up to per cent in the period from January to June 2017 compared with the same period last year.

Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said Thailand saw around 18 million tourist arrivals in the said period, adding that the figure was partly driven by medical tourism.

For the full year 2017, Thailand expects to welcome another record number of foreign tourists of around 34.4 million after 32 million arrivals in 2016, which was already twice as much as seven years ago and the most for a single country in Southeast Asia.

The Thai government calculates that the core tourism sector this year should generate revenues worth 1.78 trillion baht (around $50 billion). Last year, the sector earned Thailand $45.9 billion, officially representing over ten per cent of the nation’s GDP which for some analysts is already on a risky level given the assumption that the real figure including unrecorded businesses of various kinds is more towards 12 or even 15 per cent.

But tourism is one of the only few bright spots of the Thai economy. Last year, Thailand’s entire economy grew just 3.2 per cent, only half of the 6.5 per cent growth recorded in 2012, and the outlook for 2017 and 2018 is rather flat while foreign investment remains subdued and Thailand’s other main economic sectors, including manufacturing and export of vehicles, electronics and garment products are missing impulses from the government. Agriculture, in turn, is struggling with volatile commodity prices.

Analysts say that the biggest task the current military government (or, the succeeding civilian government, at some point), is to diversify the economy in a better way to decrease the dependence on just one a main driver of growth in order to dampen the impact of a possible crash in such a sector.

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