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Published on : Thursday, August 3, 2017
For the first time in 2016, Thailand reached the 30 million mark in international visitors; the nearly 33 million visitors in 2016 were an 8.91% increase over the previous year. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is aiming for 35 million tourists in 2017.
At the 16th Thailand Travel Mart (TTM+) held recently at the Chiang Mai International Exhibition and Convention Centre, TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said, “Thailand is still a popular destination. Stability and improvements in the economy mean more foreign visitor arrivals. There’s clearly a demand, and it’s up to us to accommodate everyone who wants to come.” Tourism is a thriving business for Thailand, with tourism receipts reaching U.S. $71.4 billion for 2016, an increase of 11% from 2015. Tourism receipts have already exceeded initial forecasts for the first quarter of 2017.
The North American market is good for Thailand. In 2016, there were 974,632 arrivals from the United States, exceeding the 2015 arrivals of 867,520. This year, over a million U.S. visitors are expected. Canada is also following in the same steps. In 2016, there were 244,268 visitors from Canada to Thailand, an increase of 7.5% over 2015, with a 6% increase expected this year.
Jittima Sukpalin, TAT’s executive director for The Americas, said “Canada is a high yield market,” and she sees huge potential. Many families and honeymooners come to Thailand from Canada.”
TAT is trying to educate the travel trade and consumers alike to get beyond the popular spots like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Phuket. Sukpalin and other tourism officials want to promote lesser known areas in the northeast of Thailand and the central part like Sukhothai.