A sharp resurgence in Chinese visitor arrivals in December helped Thailand close 2018 with a total of 38.27 million arrivals, generating tourism expenditure of just over two trillion baht (US$63.7bn)
The final arrivals count released by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports showed that Chinese visitors jumped from 675,129 in November to 838,634 in December, closing the year with a total of 10,535,955, up 7.44% over 2017. Similarly, Chinese visitor expenditure also surged.
In total, Thailand’s international visitors were up by 7.54% over 2017, and estimated tourism revenue was up by 9.63%.
For the first time, 10 countries and one SAR territory (China, Malaysia, South Korea, Lao PDR, Japan, India, Russia, USA, Singapore, Vietnam and Hong Kong SAR) generated more than one million visitor arrivals.
Minister of Tourism and Sports Weerasak Kowsurat noted that while these record-breaking figures were extremely good news, they had set the stage for Thailand to refocus its future tourism development strategy towards emerging destinations and niche markets with high spending potential.
He said it is important to strengthen tourism’s foundations to make it “convenient, clean, safe, unique and sustainable”, reduce income disparity, upgrade safety and security, and enhance personnel development.
For 2019, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports is forecasting 41.1 million foreign tourists (+ 7.5%).