Operators optimistic on tourism this year


BANGKOK (TNA) — The Tourism Council of Thailand expects tourism growth this year despite strong baht and economic slowdowns.

TCT president Chairat Trirattanajarasporn said the tourism operators’ confidence index was low at 88 in the fourth quarter of last year on the global economic slowdown, the United States’ exclusion of Thailand from its Generalized System of Preferences and baht appreciation.
The index rose to 94 for the first quarter this year thanks to the extended exemption of visa-on-arrival fee and festivals, he said.

According to Mr Chairat, Thailand welcomed 39.62 million visitors last year. The number rose by 3.78% from 2018. Their arrivals resulted in national tourism income worth 1.93 trillion baht, up by 2.87% from 2018.
His organization predicted there would be 41.2 million visitors this year, up by 3.3%, and the country would generate tourism income worth 2.05 trillion baht, up by 2.9%. The prediction was based on Thailand’s outstanding tourism-related resources that justified revisits, he said.

Mr Chairat urged the government and the private sector to jointly promote tourism. Besides, he suggested tourism-related operators focus on serving free independent travelers whose number, he said, was steadily increasing.

Social media and technological application and online payment systems could also help attract visitors, he said. (TNA)