Thailand Tourism To Fall Short Due to the Impact of ‘Polycrisis’

International tourism revenues in 2024 are not expected to reach the 2019 levels, as the goal has been reduced to 1.92 trillion baht from a previous target of 2.29 trillion baht due to the effects of a “polycrisis”, as reported by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

Nonetheless, the total revenue aim remains at 3 trillion baht, with the organization striving to achieve 1.08 trillion baht from domestic tourism next year.

The updated goal was announced yesterday, following the completion of TAT’s 2024 action plan last week. Initially, the government had hoped to draw 40 million overseas tourists this year, generating 2.29 billion baht, a milestone reached in 2019.

Yuthasak Supasorn, the TAT governor, pointed out that Thailand is currently dealing with a ‘polycrisis,’ a simultaneous occurrence of several detrimental events that have severely impacted the tourism industry.

This includes inflation, an economic downturn, increased interest rates, rising fuel costs and the gradual reinstatement of international flights, currently at only 70% of the 2019 volumes.

At the same time, factors driving growth, like the Chinese market, haven’t been performing as strongly as anticipated, posing a potential hurdle for the tourism sector next year.

Mr. Yuthasak also stated that the most pessimistic projection could show a steady revenue of 2.4 trillion baht in 2024, roughly equivalent to this year’s level.

However, under the most optimistic scenario estimated at 1.92 trillion baht, the short-haul market would be the highest revenue generator, contributing 1.2 trillion baht from approximately 25.8 million visitors, which constitutes 74% of the total.

The remaining income would come from the long-haul market, projected to bring in 720 billion baht from 9.2 million tourists.

Tanes Petsuwan, the TAT’s Deputy Governor for Asia and the South Pacific, suggested that the short-haul market should recover more quickly, reaching 94% of the revenue levels from 2019.

However, the visitor numbers are expected to increase at a slower pace, hitting just 83% of the pre-pandemic figures.

The agency predicts the short-haul market to finish this year with 18 million tourists, generating 949 billion baht in revenue.

Mr. Tanes indicated that Thailand could possibly welcome only 7-8 million visitors from China next year, a decline from 10 million in 2019.

Siripakorn Cheawsamoot, the TAT’s Deputy Governor for Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas, mentioned that ongoing geopolitical tensions and high oil prices, leading to higher travel costs, are among the persisting challenges.

In 2024, international flights are expected to reach 85-90% of the 2019 numbers. Mr. Siripakorn stated that a complete recovery in aviation is likely only by 2025, based on projections by the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand.

The total number of inbound flights during this year’s summer schedule is expected to reach 100,493, a significant increase from 53,839 flights in the winter schedule of 2022.