THE Tourism Authority of Thailand foresees 8% year-on-year jump in tourism revenue in the first quarter of this year with this totaling some 733 billion baht (US$207 million) and continuous growth of this key industry has led to the Airports of Thailand Plc (AOT) moving to expand six airports.
AOT said this morning (Feb. 16) that the six international airports are Don Mueang, Phuket, Hat Yai, Suvarnabhumi, Chiang Mai and Mae Fah Luang Chiang Rai with these being all the airports it is currently operating.
According to a Thai News Agency report yesterday, AOT President Nitinai Sirismatthakarn said after checking the progress of Phuket aiport expansion that the master plan to further develop these six airports from 2016 to 2026 with 200 billion baht will be submitted to its board of directors meeting on February 22 after which it will be tabled to the Ministry of Transport and then the Cabinet for approval.
He added that 50% of this investment fund will go to improving Suvarnabhumi Airport with this master plan ready to be implemented and unlikely to be changed.
Meanwhile TAT said that it expects tourism revenue for the entire 2017 to total 2.77 trillion baht (US$78.25 billion).
In 2016, Thailand earned 2.52 trillion baht (US$71 billion) from tourism with this being an 11 percent increase over 2015 and exceeding the set target of 2.4 trillion baht (US$68 billion). Of the total, some 1.65 trillion baht (US$46.74 billion) was raised via spending by 32.59 million international visitors, representing a 13 percent and 9 percent year-on-year increase, respectively.
Meanwhile, domestic tourism revenue rose 8 percent to 866 billion baht (US$24.53 billion) from 145 million trips (up 4 percent over 2015).
Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT’s Governor said, “2016 was another record year for Thailand’s tourism industry, and we hope to maintain this momentum and attract even more visitors over the next few months. I’d like to point out that the growth of revenue was larger than the growth in visitor numbers indicating that the strategy of targeting higher spending, higher quality tourists had been a great success over the past year.”
In 2016, the top five source tourist markets were China, Russia, Malaysia, UK and South Korea. Also, there were significant growths in the number of visitors from North America (up 11 percent), South Asia (up 9 percent), and Europe and the Middle East, both up 8 percent.
Meanwhile, ASEAN and Africa saw a 6 percent increase in visitor numbers, and Oceania saw a 3 percent rise. In 2017, Thailand is expecting to see high growth in visitor arrivals from Brazil, Russia, Argentina, Cambodia, and Saudi Arabia.
Top: Beautiful vista of Krabi. Photo: Reinhard Link (CC-BY-SA-2.0)
Inset: The Bridge over the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi. Photo: David Jones (CC-BY-2.0)