Thailand welcomes 17.5 million foreign tourists in H1-Xinhua

Thailand welcomes 17.5 million foreign tourists in H1

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-07-02 22:35:45

BANGKOK, July 2 (Xinhua) -- Thailand received over 17.5 million foreign tourists in the first half of 2024, an increase of 35 percent from a year earlier, on course to meet the year-end target of 36.7 million foreign arrivals, official data showed on Tuesday.

With 3.43 million arrivals, Chinese tourists made up the largest source market for the Southeast Asian country in the first six months of this year, followed by 2.43 million from Malaysia and 1.04 million from India, according to the Thai Ministry of Tourism and Sports.

The ministry expects the number of inbound visitors to continue rising in the coming weeks, driven by factors such as the celebrity-induced tourism trend, the ongoing summer holiday season, and the government's ease of travel initiatives.

The Thai government is working with airlines to increase the number of flights to the kingdom and is expanding visa-free entry to more countries. This includes the mutual visa exemption agreement between Thailand and China, effective March 1, which helps boost confidence and facilitate convenient travel between the two countries, the ministry said in a statement.

Thailand has generated approximately 825 billion baht (about 22.39 billion U.S. dollars) in revenue from international tourists so far this year, the ministry said. The kingdom is targeting a tourism receipt target of 3.5 trillion baht (about 95 billion dollars) in 2024.

Last month, the Thai government raised its 2024 inbound tourist target by an additional 1 million to 36.7 million visitors as part of its strategy to elevate the country's gross domestic product (GDP) growth to 3 percent.

In pre-pandemic 2019, Thailand welcomed a record 39.9 million foreign arrivals, generating 1.91 trillion baht (about 51.8 billion dollars) in revenue. Tourism, the key driver of the nation's economic growth, accounts for about 12 percent of its GDP.