Thailand revises tourism arrival forecast downwards

Thailand Revises Tourism Arrival Forecast Downwards

Thailand’s tourism and sports ministry has cut its foreign arrivals forecast to 39-39.8 million this year, down from 40.2 million due to a combination of adverse factors affecting the tourism industry in the country.

Those factors are global trade tensions which have put economic pressure on some important source countries, increased economic insecurity and reduced spending power, most notably in China, the most important source country for tourists in Thailand. Security issues involving Chinese tour groups have compounded the issue.

Currencies are another issue. The Chinese now have to deal with a devaluation of the yuan, which makes trips to Thailand more expensive. At the same time, the Thai baht is getting stronger and stronger by the month, which has an accumulating effect not just for the Chinese, but basically all foreigners.

For instance, the baht has gained more than 32 per cent versus the pound Sterling in the past four years, some 15 per cent versus the US dollar and almost 17 per cent versus the euro. This makes holiday in Thailand noticeably more expensive and prompts potential tourists look for alternatives in the region, mainly Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam, which have remained much more affordable and – at least the two former – have a much better visa system for long-stayers and retirees.

In turn, tourism arrivals in Thailand in the first half of 2019 grew only 1.4 per cent, less than expected, prompting the new tourism and sports minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn to admit that the target of over 40 million arrivals would not be met.

The Thailand Tourism Intelligence Center says 23.1 million foreign tourists visited the country between January and the end of August this year, up just two per cent compared to the same period last year. The big mover is Indian tourists, up 24 per cent to 1.14 million year-on-year, while China still accounts for the biggest portion with 6.63 million visitors, a contraction of 3.3 per cent, followed by Malaysia with 2.24 million, up 6.2 per cent.

Ratchakitprakarn said the cabinet is continuing to promote tourism from the remainder of this year through next year by extending the 2,000-baht waiver of visa-on-arrival fees to 19 nations, including China, India and Russia, until April 30, 2020, from Oct 31, 2019.

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Thailand’s tourism and sports ministry has cut its foreign arrivals forecast to 39-39.8 million this year, down from 40.2 million due to a combination of adverse factors affecting the tourism industry in the country. Those factors are global trade tensions which have put economic pressure on some important source countries, increased economic insecurity and reduced spending power, most notably in China, the most important source country for tourists in Thailand. Security issues involving Chinese tour groups have compounded the issue. Currencies are another issue. The Chinese now have to deal with a devaluation of the yuan, which makes trips to...

Thailand Revises Tourism Arrival Forecast Downwards

Thailand’s tourism and sports ministry has cut its foreign arrivals forecast to 39-39.8 million this year, down from 40.2 million due to a combination of adverse factors affecting the tourism industry in the country.

Those factors are global trade tensions which have put economic pressure on some important source countries, increased economic insecurity and reduced spending power, most notably in China, the most important source country for tourists in Thailand. Security issues involving Chinese tour groups have compounded the issue.

Currencies are another issue. The Chinese now have to deal with a devaluation of the yuan, which makes trips to Thailand more expensive. At the same time, the Thai baht is getting stronger and stronger by the month, which has an accumulating effect not just for the Chinese, but basically all foreigners.

For instance, the baht has gained more than 32 per cent versus the pound Sterling in the past four years, some 15 per cent versus the US dollar and almost 17 per cent versus the euro. This makes holiday in Thailand noticeably more expensive and prompts potential tourists look for alternatives in the region, mainly Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam, which have remained much more affordable and – at least the two former – have a much better visa system for long-stayers and retirees.

In turn, tourism arrivals in Thailand in the first half of 2019 grew only 1.4 per cent, less than expected, prompting the new tourism and sports minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn to admit that the target of over 40 million arrivals would not be met.

The Thailand Tourism Intelligence Center says 23.1 million foreign tourists visited the country between January and the end of August this year, up just two per cent compared to the same period last year. The big mover is Indian tourists, up 24 per cent to 1.14 million year-on-year, while China still accounts for the biggest portion with 6.63 million visitors, a contraction of 3.3 per cent, followed by Malaysia with 2.24 million, up 6.2 per cent.

Ratchakitprakarn said the cabinet is continuing to promote tourism from the remainder of this year through next year by extending the 2,000-baht waiver of visa-on-arrival fees to 19 nations, including China, India and Russia, until April 30, 2020, from Oct 31, 2019.

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