Bangkok, Nov 29 (EFE).- Thailand has received almost 24.5 million international tourists in the first 11 months of the year, in line with the goal established by the government for 2023 but still well below the record of 40 million visitors in 2019.
Between Jan. 1 and Nov. 26 this year, Thailand, one of the world’s tourism powers and whose industry was strongly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, received 24.48 million international travelers, generating income of 1.03 trillion baht (about $29.6 million) to the country.
The figure is within the goal stipulated by the Thai government, which hopes to attract between 25 and 30 million tourists this year, although it represents only two thirds of the total of 39.87 travelers who visited the country in 2019, before the pandemic.
The data, provided by the Ministry of Tourism, indicates a slower recovery of Thailand’s tourism sector compared to its regional neighbors, which is why the administration of Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has implemented various measures with the aim of stimulating the industry.
Thailand has recently extended temporary visa-free entry for citizens of China, Taiwan, India and Kazakhstan, and relaxed entry conditions for Russian travelers in an attempt to stimulate tourism.
According to ministry figures, a total of 3.05 million Chinese tourists have entered the country so far this year, far off the government goal of 3.5-4 million travelers from the Asian giant.
Despite the slowdown, China is still among the main tourist groups registered this year in Thailand, only behind Malaysia, whose international arrivals totaled almost 4 million people since Jan. 1.
Completing the list of countries with the most citizens traveling to Thailand so far are South Korea, with 1.44 million, India with 1.43 million, and Russia with 1.2 million.
By 2024, the Ministry of Tourism hopes to reactivate the sector robustly with the arrival of some 35 million international tourists, 8.2 million of them from China.
Likewise, it foresees that the total income generated by the industry will jump from the 2.38 trillion baht expected for this year to 3 trillion baht in 2024, a figure similar to that from the almost 40 million tourists who visited the country in 2019.
International tourism to Thailand, which accounted for 12-20 percent of Thai gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019, fell to 6.7 million visits in 2020 and 420,000 in 2021, sending the economy into a tailspin. EFE