Malaysian Visitors Projected To Outnumber Indian Tourists in Thailand

Now that Thailand has reopened to international tourists and is set to drop the Thailand Pass from July 1, the number of visitors from Malaysia is expected to exceed the number of travelers from India, the country that sends the most tourists to the country each month.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s latest reports showed that the kingdom had received 123,606 Indian tourists in the first five months of 2022. The second largest number of visitors was from the United Kingdom, with 96,323, followed by 78,523 from Malaysia, 77,707 from Germany, and 72,482 from the United States.

However, an increased influx of travelers from Malaysia has been reported in recent weeks. The Malaysians flooded Phuket in early June, booking all AirAsia flights from Kuala Lumpur to the island daily.

Malaysian tourists have also traveled to other Thai destinations such as Bangkok, Pattaya, Krabi, Koh Samui, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Had Yai, Dannok, Betong, and Sungai Golok.

During the year’s first two quarters, 1,336,068 tourists arrived in the country. However, according to Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, removing the Thailand Pass is expected to attract around 900,000 arrivals per month, up from 700,000 this month and almost 500,000 in May.

In addition to the pre-arrival pre-registration requirement scrapping, Thailand offers other incentives to attract tourists, including the Thai baht’s weakening against the US dollar. The country’s relatively low cost of living and reasonable hotel room rates have also drawn more visitors to the kingdom, Mr. Phiphat added.

Moreover, foreign visitors are no longer required to purchase Covid-19 health insurance of at least $10,000 from the following month.

Tourism authorities also expect to see more travelers from the Middle East. In May, the kingdom received around 15,000 tourists from the region, but the number is forecast to rise to more than 20,000, as a total of 300,000 arrivals from Middle Eastern countries are estimated this year.

Although the number of tourists from the region is lower, the average expenditure of a person from the Middle East visiting Thailand is double that of other nationalities, the minister explained.

Chinese people have also made up one of the country’s biggest tourist groups. Nonetheless, Mr. Phiphat said that an increase in the arrival of travelers from China is not expected due to the current strict travel controls and closures in some Chinese cities.

Thailand has lifted the strictest disease control measures and has dropped most Covid-related travel requirements. However, arrivals must still show proof of vaccination or a negative result to a Covid-19 test taken at least 72 hours before departure.