Thailand Receives Record 32m Visitors in 2016
Thailand received a record 32.59 million foreign visitors last year, with revenues beating expectations and likely to exceed previous forecasts this year by growing 10% or more, officials said last week.
Thailand is proving popular even as terror scares, including a series of bombings in resort towns killing four people and the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, had hotels and tour guides across the country on edge.
Tourism fared better than expected after a bloodless coup deposed Thailand’s elected government in 2014 as well, AP reported. The Tourism Authority of Thailand said the tourist industry earned 2.52 trillion baht ($71.4 billion) last year, up 11% from 2015.
It said the country’s tourism industry is projected to bring in 733 billion baht ($20.8 billion) in the first quarter of this year, up 8% from the first quarter of 2016. Officials said their estimates, covering foreign and domestic tourists combined, indicate tourism revenue for all of 2017 may surpass earlier forecasts of 2.77 trillion baht ($78.5 billion).
Thailand is the 11th most-visited country and boasted the sixth largest tourism industry by revenue in 2015, according to a UN report. Most travelers come from China, South Korea and Japan, lured by Thailand’s year-round warm weather, as well as western countries and Thailand’s neighbors in Southeast Asia.
Foreign tourists are by far the most lucrative for the economy. They are projected to total 9.3 million in the first quarter of this year, accounting for 490 billion baht ($13.9 billion) in revenue. In the same period, some 32.5 million Thai travelers accounted for 240 billion baht ($6.8 billion).