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Tourism figures forecast growth for 2017

BANGKOK: Tourism associations estimate Thailand’s tourism industry will increase the number of tourist visits by 10% this year.

By TTR Weekly

Sunday 5 February 2017, 10:00AM

A man relaxes reading a book at a beach in Phuket. Photo: Tanyaluk Sakoot

A man relaxes reading a book at a beach in Phuket. Photo: Tanyaluk Sakoot

Presiding at the Association of Thai Travel Agents and Thai Hotels Association annual meeting, last Wednesday (Jan 25), Deputy Prime Minister Thanasak Patimaprakorn said last year the country welcomed 32.6 million international visits.

He claimed there were more “quality tourists” in the year’s total than in the past as a result of government promotions.

The crackdown of illegal tour operators and hotels would also help to drive quality tourism, he said, referring to the policy to end zero-dollar tours from China that he said have no financial value for the country, but create considerable stress on resources.

“The country needs to set strategies to shift tourists from crowded destinations and to develop new tourist attractions… we have to tighten safety and security.”

This year, Thailand will focus on specific tourism segments such as sports tourism, health and wellness, weddings and romance, marine and rail to boost tourism.

The government will also promote what is popularly called foodie tourism, and Deputy PM Thanasak has already proposed to the Cabinet to approve a proposal by the Tourism Authority of Thailand to sign an agreement with Michelin Guide to award Michelin stars for excellence restaurants. It should be completed in three weeks.

The Michelin Guidebook Bangkok is expected to cover five years starting this year and will cost US$4.1mn (B49.252mn) to establish and operate, although he did not elaborate on the cost breakdown.

“Once the project is approved, Thailand will be the second country in Asean, after Singapore, to join the Michelin Guidebook…it will help to increase tourist spending in the country.”

In addition, the government is likely to extend the free tourist visa concession for citizens of 19 nations that is due to end Feb 28. It will be extended for another six months, Deputy PM Thanasak added.

Most of the countries listed are not major tourist providers, but the concession sends the right message to China, Taiwan, India and Saudi Arabia markets that have vast potential for growth, he said.

The 19 nations eligible for the visa-fee waiver comprise of Andorra, Bulgaria, Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

Under the scheme, citizens from the 19 countries do not need to pay the B1,000 fee to process a visa at Thai embassies, or consular offices overseas. They still have to visit the consulates, which can be time consuming due to the long distances between the capital and other cities.

QSI International School Phuket

The visa-on-arrival fee, which was increased on Sept 27 to B2,000 was also reduced to B1,000 for citizens of the 19 countries. The visa-on-arrival is valid for just 15 days.

ATTA President Charoen Wangananont said, “This year, tourism should grow around 9% to 10% mainly on the back of strong markets in Asia.

“Asean market will be crucial for us this year and that will encourage more air connectivity between destinations,” he added.

Thai Hotels Association President Supawan Tanomkieatipum said it was vital to convince tour operators to use legal hotels to end negative practices.

Last year, overall hotel occupancy stood at 64.48%, up 3.23% from 62.46%. This year, the association expects occupancy to close at 70%, she said.

This year, the country projects 35mn foreign travellers. Tourism-related revenue is expected to reach B2.71 trillion. Of that, B1.78trn is to come from foreign visitors and B930 billion from domestic travellers.

In 2016, the country attracted 32,588,303 international visits, improving 8.91% compared with 29,923,185 in 2015.

Last year, overall tourism revenue reached B2.51trn, increasing 10.93% and exceeding the target of B2.4trn. Of that, B1.64trn came from international markets and B870bn from the domestic market.

The revenue estimates were based on exit surveys to determine an average spend per tourist, but are not considered entirely accurate.


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Jor12 | 11 February 2017 - 17:38:30

Kurt...The article is not solely about future forecasts..."last year the country welcomed 32.6 million international visits." It is about targeting "specific segments" hence me saying that business people, use these figures as.."an aid in making informed decisions" For example, as a property developer, given the percentage increase in visitor numbers, do I build a 100...

Eagle | 11 February 2017 - 15:11:29

Kurt, did not read the article well.India is on the list!!!!2.I did not say that Italy,Sweden Switzerland are on the list.I mentioned Taiwan being on the list and having more visitors than the other 3 countries,because you said :It are all countries with limited numbers of nationals coming to Thailand.

Kurt | 11 February 2017 - 14:14:29

The article is about the 19 countries, exempted of visa fees.
India, Sweden, Italy, and Switzerland are not on that list of 19 countries. 
This for Eagle.

And for Jor12 ( Joe12), I not wrote anything about a 'pinch of salt'.
But if you talk about salt, ok, I would say:  not a pinch, but 3 soup spoons of salt
Are you happy now with wrong addressing to me?

Anyway, this article is a...

Rorii | 11 February 2017 - 12:02:05

Jor12 "Strange though how tourism numbers just keep increasing year after year? despite all the doom and gloom from the doomsayers?"
Doomsayers, that favorite word used by that defunct ex edit.

Now, although I agree the "numbers" are going up, the simple fact is, it does not translate to the numbers on the street, something is very wrong... doomsaysers.. no, but hey, if you...

Eagle | 11 February 2017 - 10:55:43

FYI Kurt:India is 5th.on the tourist arrival stats.And there are also more Taiwanese visitor,than visitor from Sweden,Italy or Switzerland!

Jor12 | 10 February 2017 - 20:00:55

Kurt...where are your figures to disprove "all these published nonsense" The figures can easily be verified. 

I, and many other business people rely on these figures when making important decisions, therefore they are certainly not taken "with a pinch of salt." They are an aid in making informed decisions, not like some, whose only decision they make each day, is which leg f...

Kurt | 08 February 2017 - 17:12:00

Visa on arrival reduction for 19 countries is a big joke.
It are all countries with limited number of nationals who like to come to Thailand ( now including China) or majority to poor to travel to Thailand.
Amazing how some people still believe all these published nonsense.

If they are told that grass grows on the moon, still people will believe it when they read it, just because it is writte...

Toby Vincent | 08 February 2017 - 15:07:03

I think you have to take the Thai tourism numbers with a large pinch of salt. Friends who run guesthouses and small hotels have all told me that December and January were not very good months.  Now that the weather has improved February is looking like a good month.

Jor12 | 07 February 2017 - 20:08:33

Strange though how tourism numbers just keep increasing year after year? despite all the doom and gloom from the doomsayers?

Nasa123 | 06 February 2017 - 06:42:34

@Simon01, Can not be more agree with you.

BenPendejo | 05 February 2017 - 22:38:26

Well... looks like Simon pretty well hit most of it.  When you read this and pay attention to recent news... everyone (except Thais) can see that corruption is at the roots of most of these problems.  But then you have some worthless lady come down from BKK, check the toilets at the disaster of a airport, and fail to look into anything else... just sit and listen to the Governor spew his nonsense ...

simon01 | 05 February 2017 - 13:09:28

Ha Ha Ha. What a joke. Quality tourism?? They say this every year when they have one slightly busy week after comparing to the lull after New Year. But we all know every year is less that the year before. No matter what they say you can see just by using your eyes. Bars closing in January as no customer?? 7 bars in one street in Bangla alone closes this year as so quiet. Bars for sale for as littl...

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