Foreign tourists visiting Thailand rise 14%


BANGKOK, Dec 24 – Inbound tourists to Thailand reached 21.8 million persons this year, representing a 14 per cent increase from last year and generating a total revenue of Bt 930 billion (US$31 billion), a senior official of the Tourism and Sports Ministry said today.

Anuparp Kesornsuwan, acting director general of the Tourism Department, said the number of foreign tourists to Thailand rose by 60 per cent in November alone while the December figure is predictably high thanks to the holiday season.

Hotel reservations between the end of this year and early next year are higher than the same period in the previous year, he said, adding that global economic recovery will possibly stimulate tourism growth and the number foreign tourists visiting Thailand next year should be 10 per cent greater than this year, or a total of 24 million people.

He said the government’s economic stimulus and successive tourism-related activities have attracted Thai people to travel in the country as well, making it a blessing to the domestic tourism business.

It is estimated that 112 million people in Thailand travelled in the country this year, generating a circulating revenue of Bt500 billion (US$17 billion) while next year should see a 6 per cent growth, said Mr Anuparp.

He added that the Tourism Department has sought cooperation from agencies concerned in cracking down on bogus tour guides and ensuring that illegal tour operators do not cash in on Thai and foreign tourists during the festive season.

According to the five-year National Tourism Development Plan (2012-2016), the government will spend at least Bt6.65 billion (US$221 million) in three years (2012-2014) to develop tourist attractions nationwide and launch activities to boost tourism such as development of tourism/scenic routes and promoting filming locations.