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Prime Minister ‘upbeat’ over tourist numbers

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is upbeat after hearing the kingdom is expected to welcome over 9 million inbound international visitors and generate 1.27 trillion baht by the end of the year, said government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana.

The premier has been informed of a turnaround in arrival numbers since the beginning of the year when the Covid-19 pandemic began to ease.

From January to June 28, 1.9 million visitors arrived in Thailand, generating 114 billion baht. Top arrivals by air include nationals from India, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and the United States.

Malaysian, Lao, Cambodian, Vietnamese and Chinese nationals are among the top land-border arrivals.

The cancellation of the Thailand Pass requirement has revitalised cross-border trade, with the number of foreign travellers entering through border passes bouncing back to the highest levels in two years.

For example, the Sadao border pass in Songkhla has recorded a jump in immigration check-ins by Malaysian and Singaporean nationals at about 5,000 per day. The border pass is expected to welcome more than 100,000 foreign visitors this month.

The Tourism and Sports Ministry says about 2.7 million foreign visitors will travel to Thailand from this month until the end of September.

In the last quarter, about 4.5 million foreign visitors are expected to arrive in the kingdom, meaning a total of 9.3 million foreign arrivals expected this year. In total, tourism revenue this year is likely to top 1.27 trillion baht.

Mr Thanakorn said the Rao Tiew Duay Kan (We Travel Together) scheme, now extended to the end of October, remains popular.

The promotion offers 1.5 million additional room nights to stimulate local tourism.

Mr Thanakorn said earlier the scheme’s extension would be funded by a budget leftover amount estimated at 5.5 billion baht as of May 30. Of that figure, the government is expected to spend 5.1 billion baht to fund the extended scheme.

The spokesman warned that tourism businesses joining the scheme must not mark up the prices of their accommodation, entertainment services and meals.

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