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Tourism Report: Thailand Welcomes Over 10 Million Travelers
03 May 2024 | Written by Chris Alexander

Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports has confirmed the nation’s tourism revival continues at pace. During the first three months of 2024, the kingdom welcomed 9.3 million international visitors – a massive 44% increase compared to the same period last year. The Q1 influx included more than 1.7 million Chinese nationals. 

The top five demographic contributors to this growth were China, which provided a total of 1,756,337 arrivals; followed by Malaysia, with 1,168,574; Russia, with 622,813; South Korea, with 558,873; and India, responsible for 472,952 arrivals. Thailand’s other big source markets in Q1 of 2024 were Germany (315,033), Laos (308,097), the United Kingdom (290,486), the United States (280,248) and Japan (271,427). 

China’s place in pole position is an indication of this group’s importance to Thailand’s tourism plans in the year ahead. Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has set a target of 8 million Chinese arrivals in 2024, and expects to bring in around 3.5 trillion baht (almost US$95 billion) during that time. Back in 2019, Chinese tourists accounted for roughly 28% of nearly 40 million foreign visitors to Thailand. Now, officials have set 40 million arrivals as the target for the year ahead, in a move that signifies Thailand’s full recovery from the pandemic era. 

This year’s inbound tourism boom has been fueled by government initiatives, including the visa-exemption scheme; a mutual visa-free agreement between Thailand and China which came into effect on 1 March. Last September, officials also rolled out a 5-month visa exemption policy for travellers from China and Kazakhstan, which was followed by similar arrangements for Indian and Taiwanese nationals in November. 

The Land of Smiles has now recorded 10.72 million foreign arrivals from 1 January up to 16 April 2024. Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Ministry recently announced the country has generated 575 billion baht (US$ 15.5 billion) in revenue from international tourists during this time. The kingdom is on track to meet its targets and return to pre-pandemic levels of tourism industry health. Arrivals from China have significantly boosted this progress in Q1 of 2024, and are expected to be central to this continued revival in the months ahead.