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Thailand’s international tourism slows

Despite the study indicating strong domestic travel for the initial four months of this year, surpassing the rate of 2019, business revenue lacks behind earnings made before the pandemic.

BANGKOK – As Thailand’s tourism confidence reduces with increasing global economy concerns this report from Thailand’s Tourism Council helps to explain why.

  • 2019 40 million tourist arrivals
  • 2023 30 million targeted
  • 2023 29.4 million forecast

Challenges:

  • The president of the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT), Chamnan Srisawat, announced that the second quarter’s score was two points lower than the prior quarter at 72. The findings came from a survey conducted from April 20 to May 30, comprising 740 operators. This fell short of the identical period in 2019, which recorded 100, inferring weakened optimism. The Tourism Confidence Index remains subdued, contributor to this drop was a blend of Thailand‘s low season and decreased earnings.
  • A pressing concern was the cost of electricity, scoring 3.94 out of 5, yet only 14% of surveyed participants decided to pass this on. The shortage of labour had a mild score of 3.11 as the employment rate climbed to 90% of the rate in 2019. The cost of electricity, fuel and labour however are all leading to rising costs.
  • In relation to revenue 68% of companies are still earning less than in 2019, the Bangkok Post recently reported.
  • International arrivals this year might hit 29.4 million, a decline from the 30 million target set.
  • Global challenges including the possibility of a recession in Europe which could impact Germany and the escalating cost of living in the UK, a weak yen and an unhurried approval procedure for Chinese e-visas for those wishing to travel to Thailand. Fluctuating exchange rates and their effect on the value of the baht could also hinder recovery.
  • The study indicated strong domestic travel for the initial four months of this year, surpassing the rate of 2019.
  • Due to the sluggish economy and high household debt, Thai tourists appear reluctant to dip into savings and spend. The formation of a new government to enable the disbursement budget for the high season in the final quarter will kick start spending if the political instability and anticipated protests don’t materialise. If the do they could adversely impact the tourism industry.
  • From a regional perspective, tourism operators situated in the northeast documented the highest revenue recovery, boasting an index of 64. This can be attributed to their lessened reliance on international tourists, contrasting the East region which reported the lowest revenue growth at just 54% of the usual rate.
  • Despite the study indicating strong domestic travel for the initial four months of this year, surpassing the rate of 2019,
    business revenue lacks behind earnings made before the pandemic.
  • On a positive note, TCT celebrated the announcement from the Interior Ministry outlining an easing of laws which will permit more accommodations to register as a hotel business. Chamnan noted optimistically that licensing over 50,000 small accommodations should provide a greater capability to accommodate more tourists.
Andrew J Wood
News Editor

Andrew J Wood was born in Yorkshire England, he is a former hotelier, Skalleague and travel writer. Andrew has 48 years of hospitality and travel experience. Educated at Batley Grammar School and a hotel graduate of Napier University, Edinburgh. Andrew started his career in London, working with various hotels. His first posting overseas was with Hilton International, in Paris, and he later arrived in Asia in 1991 on Bangkok with his appointment as Director of Marketing at the Shangri-La Hotel and has remained in Thailand ever since. Andrew has also worked with the Royal Garden Resort Group now Anantara (Vice President) and the Landmark Group of Hotels (Vice President of Sales and Marketing). Latterly he has been the General Manager at the Royal Cliff Group of Hotels in Pattaya and the Chaophya Park Hotel Bangkok & Resorts.

A past board member and Director of Skål International (SI), a former National President with SI Thailand and a two time past President of the Bangkok Club. Andrew is the former President of Skål Asia. In 2019, Andrew was awarded SKÅL’s highest award the distinction of Membre D’Honneur.

He is a regular guest lecturer at various Universities in Asia.

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