Thailand revises tourism revenue forecast downwards

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The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has cut its estimate for tourism revenue growth this year from ten to 9.5 per cent, attributing the setback to the global slowdown, strong baht and rising fuel prices.

The number of international arrivals this year is now estimated at 40.2 million, short of the 41.1 to 41.3 million visitors the authority targeted early this year.

Tourism revenue receipts are expected be down to 3.38 trillion baht ($110.3 billion) from 3.4 trillion baht ($111 billion), breaking down into 2.21 trillion baht ($72.1 billion) from international tourists and 1.17 trillion baht ($38.2 billion) from domestic travelers, according to TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn.

Supasorn said that negative conditions for Thai tourism should ease next year and that TAT’s marketing plans would help boost revenue to an expected 3.72 trillion baht ($121.4 billion) in 2020, resulting in a ten per cent revenue growth year-on-year. The marketing plans will focus on niche marketing, especially lifestyle and health-conscious tourism, he added.

Cooperation with overseas travel agencies would be strengthened further to broaden the market and facilitate foreign visitors making arrangements abroad prior to their arrival, he said. 

He believed that about 42 million foreign visitors would arrive in Thailand next year, contributing about 2.43 trillion baht ($79.3 billion), or 65 per cent of the total receipts, while domestic travel would make up the balance.

However, statistical data show that Thailand’s tourism boom is slowing down. The number of foreign tourists in the second half of this year will increase only 1.6 per cent or by 20.1 million when compared to the first half of this year, which saw a total 19.7 million of foreign visitor arrivals, according to research released by by Kasikorn Research Center on June 28.

As opposed to TAT figures, the research estimates the number of foreign tourists at between 39 million and 39.8 million at the end of this year, a rise of just between two per cent and four per cent over 2018.

Contributing to slower growth is mainly a softening in arrivals by Chinese tourists. In the first five months of 2019, there has been a decrease in visitors from Mainland China of 4.3 per cent year-on-year.

The China source market is the biggest for Thai tourism, making up nearly ten million visitors out of the overall 38 million international arrivals last year. To lure back Chinese tourists, local authorities and tourism operators have been working to regain their confidence, especially regarding safety measures.

But there are indications that other visitor groups aren’t too confident either, particularly tourists from Europe, the US and Australia, which see the strong baht making their holiday disproportionately expensive as compared to other countries in the region.

The compulsory travel insurance planned by the Thai government to be paid at points of entrance would not make the situation easier, tourism experts say.

Interestingly, not just tourists are changing their minds about Thailand, but also long-stay expats. For instance, there have been reports that the number of Nordic expats – business people, on retirement or family-based Thai visas – renewing their visas in the first five months of this year has dropped by around ten per cent in 2019. This is the first decline in 12 years.

The downward trend is not confined to Nordic people. The total number of business visa renewals for all foreign nationalities in Thailand was down two per cent in the period to a total of 5536 renewals.

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The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has cut its estimate for tourism revenue growth this year from ten to 9.5 per cent, attributing the setback to the global slowdown, strong baht and rising fuel prices. The number of international arrivals this year is now estimated at 40.2 million, short of the 41.1 to 41.3 million visitors the authority targeted early this year. Tourism revenue receipts are expected be down to 3.38 trillion baht ($110.3 billion) from 3.4 trillion baht ($111 billion), breaking down into 2.21 trillion baht ($72.1 billion) from international tourists and 1.17 trillion baht ($38.2 billion) from domestic...

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Auto Draft

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has cut its estimate for tourism revenue growth this year from ten to 9.5 per cent, attributing the setback to the global slowdown, strong baht and rising fuel prices.

The number of international arrivals this year is now estimated at 40.2 million, short of the 41.1 to 41.3 million visitors the authority targeted early this year.

Tourism revenue receipts are expected be down to 3.38 trillion baht ($110.3 billion) from 3.4 trillion baht ($111 billion), breaking down into 2.21 trillion baht ($72.1 billion) from international tourists and 1.17 trillion baht ($38.2 billion) from domestic travelers, according to TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn.

Supasorn said that negative conditions for Thai tourism should ease next year and that TAT’s marketing plans would help boost revenue to an expected 3.72 trillion baht ($121.4 billion) in 2020, resulting in a ten per cent revenue growth year-on-year. The marketing plans will focus on niche marketing, especially lifestyle and health-conscious tourism, he added.

Cooperation with overseas travel agencies would be strengthened further to broaden the market and facilitate foreign visitors making arrangements abroad prior to their arrival, he said. 

He believed that about 42 million foreign visitors would arrive in Thailand next year, contributing about 2.43 trillion baht ($79.3 billion), or 65 per cent of the total receipts, while domestic travel would make up the balance.

However, statistical data show that Thailand’s tourism boom is slowing down. The number of foreign tourists in the second half of this year will increase only 1.6 per cent or by 20.1 million when compared to the first half of this year, which saw a total 19.7 million of foreign visitor arrivals, according to research released by by Kasikorn Research Center on June 28.

As opposed to TAT figures, the research estimates the number of foreign tourists at between 39 million and 39.8 million at the end of this year, a rise of just between two per cent and four per cent over 2018.

Contributing to slower growth is mainly a softening in arrivals by Chinese tourists. In the first five months of 2019, there has been a decrease in visitors from Mainland China of 4.3 per cent year-on-year.

The China source market is the biggest for Thai tourism, making up nearly ten million visitors out of the overall 38 million international arrivals last year. To lure back Chinese tourists, local authorities and tourism operators have been working to regain their confidence, especially regarding safety measures.

But there are indications that other visitor groups aren’t too confident either, particularly tourists from Europe, the US and Australia, which see the strong baht making their holiday disproportionately expensive as compared to other countries in the region.

The compulsory travel insurance planned by the Thai government to be paid at points of entrance would not make the situation easier, tourism experts say.

Interestingly, not just tourists are changing their minds about Thailand, but also long-stay expats. For instance, there have been reports that the number of Nordic expats – business people, on retirement or family-based Thai visas – renewing their visas in the first five months of this year has dropped by around ten per cent in 2019. This is the first decline in 12 years.

The downward trend is not confined to Nordic people. The total number of business visa renewals for all foreign nationalities in Thailand was down two per cent in the period to a total of 5536 renewals.

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