Thailand’s tourism sector soars as foreign tourist arrivals surge 44% in Q1 2024

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2nd April 2024 – (Bangkok) Thailand has witnessed a remarkable surge in foreign tourist arrivals during the first quarter of 2024, with over 9.37 million visitors gracing the country’s shores. This represents a substantial increase of 44 per cent compared to the same period last year, according to official data released on Tuesday. The nation is now well on track to achieve its year-end target of attracting 35 million foreign tourists.

Among the top sources of visitors, China led the way with 1.75 million tourists, followed by Malaysia with 1.16 million, and Russia with 622,813 arrivals. The Thai Ministry of Tourism and Sports shared these statistics, highlighting the continued popularity of Thailand as a favoured destination.

The government’s visa-exemption scheme has played a pivotal role in driving the influx of inbound tourists. Notably, the mutual visa-free agreement between Thailand and China, which became effective on March 1, has significantly enhanced confidence in travel between the two countries. The Thai Ministry of Tourism and Sports emphasized the positive impact of this agreement in a recent statement.

To capitalize on this upward trend, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has launched joint promotions and expanded flight routes connecting Thailand with key Chinese cities. TAT Governor Thapanee Kiatphaibool expressed confidence in achieving the goal of attracting 8 million tourists from China this year. Thapanee also showcased the nation’s ambition to generate tourism revenue of 3.5 trillion baht (approximately 95.45 billion U.S. dollars) in 2024.

Before the pandemic, Chinese tourists accounted for around 28 per cent of the nearly 40 million foreign visitors to Thailand in 2019. Tourism remains a vital driver of the country’s economic growth, contributing approximately 12 per cent to its gross domestic product.