Gov’t Shifts 2022 Tourism Focus to Domestic Market

Visitors, most of them Thai tourists, board a ferry to Koh Chang in Trat province on Sept. 24, 2021.

BANGKOK — The government said it has set a target of close to 1 trillion baht in revenue from domestic tourism in 2022, just as it starts to become clear that international travel to Thailand is not bouncing back as fast as the government had hoped.

A representative from the Tourism Authority of Thailand said the agency is working hard to promote and incentivize domestic travel throughout the next year, with the goal of generating at least 882 billion baht in revenue.

Plans to attract domestic travelers include more flights to the popular tourist destinations like Phuket and Chiang Mai, promoting newer destinations, and offering financial incentives and discounts.

A deputy government spokesman also said that demand for domestic travel is increasing as Thailand is entering the “high season” of tourism, i.e. the end of the monsoon season, coupled with the slowdown of coronavirus infection rates across the country.

Daily infections, which used to top 20,000, have now fallen below 10,000 in recent days, while vaccination rates are finally going up.

The government will continue to support domestic travel and introduce measures to assist the travel industry as it rebounds, the spokesman said.

The collapse of the lucrative tourism sector throughout 2020 contributed to Thailand’s worst economic plunge in more than 20 years. In 2020, foreign tourism brought in 332 billion baht, according to government data, which was an 83 percent drop from the 1.91 trillion baht international tourism generated in 2019.

Domestic tourism fared somewhat a little better, generating 482 billion baht, a 55 percent drop from 2019 figures.