BANGKOK, 24 July 2013: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Yukol Limlamthong, reported late last week that a top flight government committee agreed to raise Thailand’s 2015 tourism revenue target another 10% from Bt2 trillion to Bt2.2 trillion.
He was reporting on the outcome of a top-level tourism committee chaired by Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, that endorsed a proposal by the Tourism and Sports Minister, Somsak Pureesrisak to lift the target.
“The adjustment is based on the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Action Plan 2014 target that estimates international tourists will generate Bt1.3 trillion, while Thais will circulate Bt700,000 million in tourism income in the domestic travel market.”
Based on the TAT estimates it is now possible that the Bt2 trillion mark will be reached in 2014, instead of the earlier forecast of Bt1.8 trillion.
Tourism minister, Somsak, believes tourism will remain buoyant over the next two years, amid strong visitor flows from Japan and China visitors in light of ongoing conflicts between the two countries.
“Tourist safety is now on the national agenda in particular a crackdown on mafia gangs in Phuket and Pattaya. Gangsters are now involved in businesses that affect tourists, particularly jet-skis and taxis.”
Some of them are foreigners and one of the features of the crackdown will be a national check on work permits and visas to weed out those who are working illegally in the country.
Some of the checks are already underway in North Thailand where online data is being checked against records.
Thailand aims to be a tourism hub in ASEAN, but the policy is to concentrate on quality tourists (wealthy tourists). They will be encouraged to stay longer and spend more. Long-stay or retiree travel is one important area that can generate high revenue, but Thailand is losing out to Malaysia mainly due to easier visa rules and a concession that allows retirees to buy property.
Part of the security crackdown involves the set-up of tourism courts in Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket, Samui and Chiang Mai to hear cases that are related to scams, petty crime against tourists.
Thailand earned Bt983,928.36 million in tourism revenue in 2012, from 22,353,903 million foreign visitors.
According to Department of Tourism data, tourists (12,775,001 visits) from East Asia (ASEAN included) spend the most at Bt357,189.75 million followed by Europe (5,454,494 visits) at Bt 357,189.75 million and Oceania (1,035,992 visits) at Bt 69,383.41 million.
Tourism earnings are based on a formula that takes into account the daily spend of tourists reported in exit surveys carried out at airports as well as other supporting indicators.
Tourism receipts from international tourist arrivals 2012