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One in five Thai baht spent is in Travel & Tourism, according to new WTTC research

Author: Theodore Koumelis / Date: Wed, 03/20/2019 - 13:07

International tourists spent over USD $70.1 billion in Thailand last year, accounting for 20.8% of total exports.

Travel & Tourism in Thailand grew by 6.0% in 2018 – ahead of the global average of 3.9%, and ahead of Thailand’s wider economy, which grew by 4.4% last year. In 2018, Travel & Tourism contributed USD $109.5 billion and nearly 6 million jobs to the Thai economy. This makes Thailand the largest tourism economy in South East Asia, a position it has retained since WTTC research began. 

In total, international tourists spent over USD $70.1 billion in Thailand last year, accounting for 20.8% of total exports. The largest inbound international markets were China (27%); Malaysia (10%); South Korea (5%); Japan (4%); and Laos (4%). Combined with domestic spending, Travel & Tourism supported 21.6% of the nation’s GDP in 2018. 

For over 25 years, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), which represents the global private sector of Travel & Tourism, has produced the authoritative research on the economic contribution of the sector. This year’s research shows that: 

  • Travel & Tourism in Thailand grew by 6.0% last year – way ahead of the global average of 3.9% 
  • This contributed 21.6% to Thailand’s GDP, worth USD$109.5 billion when all direct, indirect and induced effects are taken into consideration 
  • Travel & Tourism is responsible for 15.9% of all Thai employment, or 6 million jobs 
  • GDP contribution is projected to grow by 4.6% in 2019 

WTTC President & CEO Gloria Guevara commented, “We congratulate Thailand – our Global Summit host in 2017 - on their continued sector growth. Travel & Tourism brings enormous benefits to the country, particularly among international travellers, and it is promising to now see a surge in business travellers choosing Thailand as their destination. 

“The Thai economy benefits hugely from our sector, with over one in five of all Baht spent in the country coming from tourists. This helps to generate great prosperity and provide a livelihood for six million citizens.” 

“Once again Thailand has demonstrated its strength as the region’s largest travel economy, and it ranks in the top five countries globally in terms of international visitor spend.” 


Theodore Koumelis

Co-Founder & Managing Director

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.