Thailand expecting 30 million tourists in 2023, says prime minister

PHUKET, Thailand: Thai government spokesperson Anucha Burapachaisri has said that Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha is confident that the country will receive more than 30 million foreign tourists this year.

Chan-ocha also instructed government agencies to assist visitors with travel and ensure their safety, Burapachaisri added, noting that the government initially predicted more than 20 million foreign tourists, but this was later increased to 28 million.

"Most recently, the prime minister is confident that tourist numbers will even exceed 30 million," Anucha said.

The latest projection is due to the reopening of China’s tourists and the return of Chinese tourists.

"Earlier, we did not think China would also allow group tours. Now, we are seeing at least 7 to 8 million people," said Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, as reported by Reuters.

In January, overall foreign tourist arrivals were around 2.1 million, he added.

In 2022, Thailand beat its tourism target with 11.15 million foreign visitors, a surge from some 428,000 from the previous year at the height of pandemic-related travel restrictions.

In 2019, before the pandemic, Thailand received a record 40 million foreign tourists, who spent 1.91 trillion baht ($56.78 billion).