Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Saturday welcomed this year’s 10 millionth visitor to the country at Suvarnabhumi Airport to celebrate the revival of the tourism industry.
Two tourists who arrived on a flight from Saudi Arabia received special prizes from the Prime Minister. The prizes included Limousine transfer, air tickets, shopping vouchers and virtual land, among others. The passengers were welcomed by traditional drummers and dancers.
Around 40 million tourists were welcomed by the Asian country in 2019, but COVID-19 restrictions gave a major setback to the travel industry. Now, with relaxation in the restrictions worldwide, the travel numbers in Thailand have started a slow recovery and the government is aiming to generate tourism revenue of $16 billion this year.
The Thai government figures suggest the country would welcome roughly 23 million tourists in 2023, while some analysts believe a full recovery in tourist numbers could happen in 2024. Thai hotel owners and restaurant owners have breathed a sigh of relief as businesses have slowly picked up.
Analysts have also cautioned against over-optimism, with threats of economic stagnation, pandemic threats, slowdown and inflation persisting. The recovery also depends on China relaxing international travel rules, as the country sends maximum foreign tourists to Thailand.