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Thailand Tourism To Surpass Its Pre-Pandemic High in 2025

Published: May 1, 2023 at 11:45 pm

chinese travelers in thailand

According to research performed by Arival Co., the tourism sector, particularly excursion activities and attractions, is expected to exceed its pre-pandemic high by 2025.

The company has published its latest research results ahead of its June conference in Bangkok. The study titled “The Outlook for Experiences 2019-2025” expects the industry to reach $67 billion in 2024 and $75 billion in 2025.

Based on the research, online bookings will account for over 30% of all excursions, activities, and attraction bookings globally in 2025, up from 17% in 2019. However, the number of online bookings in Asia-Pacific will more than triple during the same period as younger travelers drive the travel industry’s recovery. Online marketplaces and mobile-ready businesses will be best positioned to benefit across the region.

According to Quinby, younger travelers in Asia prioritize experiences and are ready to pay more for them. Therefore, tourism businesses must be prepared to accommodate the group. This means more immersive, small-group excursions that take visitors off the beaten path. Everything must be accessible and bookable on mobile devices, with Tiktok and Instagram-worthy experiences.

While Thailand is experiencing development, it has yet to reach its pre-COVID pinnacle. The Bank of Thailand (BoT) increased its forecasts for international tourist arrivals to 25.5 million this year and 34 million next year, up from 22 million this year and 31.5 million next year, respectively. The country acquired a record number of nearly 40 million tourists in 2019, pre-pandemic.

Indian travelers, among the first and biggest groups of foreign visitors to Thailand after the nation reopened, are contributing to the revival of tourism. They typically travel as a family or with acquaintances, and some visit Thailand for weddings.

Simultaneously, China’s reopening is expected to further increase tourism, with at least 5 million Chinese visitors this year, roughly half the number before the pandemic. The Governor of Thailand’s Tourism Authority, Yuthasak Supasorn, disclosed that 6.5 million international tourists visited Thailand during the first quarter of 2023, generating a total revenue of 256.194 billion baht.

In the first three months of 2023, almost all foreign travelers came from East Asia (56.8%), followed by Europe (26.5%), India, the United States, Australia, Israel, Canada, and Saudi Arabia (16.5%).

During that period, Malaysia, Russia, China, South Korea, and India were the top five countries with the highest number of tourists traveling to Thailand. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) predicts that Chinese visitors will outnumber all other foreign visitors in Thailand by at least 5 million, with that number rising to 7-8 million, depending on the availability of winter flights. Malaysia (4 million) would come in second, followed by India (2 million).

Indians appreciate Indian cuisine and entertainment, such as visiting Safari World and cruising the Chao Phraya River. In contrast to Chinese visitors, who enjoy shopping, they prefer locally-made items with unique histories and characteristics. This trend may provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs to increase their profits.

TAT also recorded a significant increase in medical tourism from the Middle East to Thailand. The population of this group will rise from 1.8% in 2019 to 4.3% in 2022.

Another positive indicator is an increase in European and American visitors with extended stays. Inflation and rising accommodation costs, which have been adjusted from the “low-season” rate during the pandemic, have contributed to an increase in per capita expenditures documented in 2022.


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