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Tourism Authority of Thailand Targets 400,000 Tourists From Middle East This Year
Published: July 17, 2023 at 6:10 pm
This year, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) intends to attract 400,000 tourists from the Middle East, including setting a new record for the Saudi Arabia market.
Chaiwat Tamthai, Director of TAT’s Dubai and Middle East office, stated that this region’s economies benefit from rising prices, which leads to an upsurge in resident wealth and travel interest.
According to Mr. Chaiwat, Saudi Arabia would be the biggest market with at least 150,000 tourists due to the return of direct flights and the restoration of diplomatic ties between Thailand and Saudi Arabia. This represents a change from when the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was the biggest market.
The Tourism Ministry reports that the number of Saudi visitors in 2019 was only 36,700, relative to more than 145,000 UAE tourists.
According to TAT data, Thailand received over 268,000 Middle East tourists in the first half of 2023. Saudi Arabia led the way with 75,652 tourists, followed by the UAE and Oman with 49,905 and 34,005 tourists, respectively.
He stated that the Middle East market will expand rapidly in July and August due to the summer holiday season.
The average duration of their stay is 10 to 12 days, and they spend an average of 80,000 baht per excursion, he added.
TAT’s Deputy Governor for Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas, Siripakorn Cheawsamoot, stated that 80% of flights have resumed between Thailand and the Middle East.
Uraiwan Thaipakdee, a Committee Member of the Association of Thai Travel Agents, indicated that tour companies obtained twice as many clients from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries as the previous year.
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman comprise the GCC or Gulf Cooperation Council.
Numerous serviced apartments in Phuket and Bangkok reported significant demand from this market segment.
Some intend to remain for a month during the following summer break, combining medical examinations with recreational activities.
She added that despite the global economic decline, tourists continue to choose Thailand due to its affordable accommodations compared to other Asian destinations and its exceptional shopping experience and renowned hospitality.
However, challenges persist in the form of a lack of halal restaurants and the unattractiveness of cities that are known for their entertainment but do not accommodate the family market.
Ms. Uraiwan stated that the government should promote more destinations to each market segment to capitalize on the year-round travelers.