THAILAND: Government formation effects tourism

BANGKOK  – Delay in the formation of the new government has caused the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT) to adjust its estimate of tourist arrivals this year down to 28 million, from 30 million, which will reduce estimated tourism revenue by about 100 billion, said TCT chairman Chamnan Srisawat.

He attributed the anticipated revenue shortfall to the delay in the disbursement of the budget for tourism promotion during the third quarter of the year, which is the low tourism season. He also said that concern about political protests is another factor that may discourage tourists from visiting Thailand.

Tourist arrivals for the first and second quarters of the year have met the targets of 6 and 7 million respectively, but the 8 million arrivals targeted for the third quarter are likely to be missed by about two million.

He is, however, optimistic that the 9 million arrival target for the fourth quarter is likely to be met but, for the whole year, the 30 million target will be missed by about two million.

Deputy governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) for the domestic market, Thapanee Kiatphaibool, also shares the concern that political uncertainties may impact tourism for the rest of the year, although domestic tourism may not be affected.

She said, while the delay in the formation of the new government will impact the disbursement of the budget for the 2024 fiscal year, the TAT cannot wait and will try to promote tourism during the low season with its available resources.

For the domestic tourism market, she said that the TAT has adjusted its original plan, to encourage Thai tourists to spend an average of 4,000 baht per head per trip, to encourage them to go on more trips, even though their spending per trip may be less but it will be more widely distributed.

For the first seven months of this year, domestic tourism has generated 478.4 billion baht in revenue from 135 million trips, compared to 744.13 billion Baht in revenue from foreign tourism.

TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said that 15.4 million foreign tourists arrived in Thailand during the first seven months of this year, representing about 60% of the whole year’s target, adding that the remaining five months will be a challenge for the TAT, as it will have to fulfil its target of at least 25 million arrivals in the wake of a global economic slowdown and political uncertainties in Thailand.

The top five foreign arrivals during the first seven months were from Malaysia, 2,445,950; China, 1,852,446; South Korea, 913,168; India, 888,807 and Russia, 856,503.

Source: thaipbsworld