BANGKOK — More than 50,000 international arrivals have been logged since the country formally reopened to tourists on Nov. 1 — making up half of all reported arrivals throughout the year 2021.
According to figures published by the government, the country has welcomed 50,000 international travelers for the past 3 weeks, taking the total number of foreign arrivals this year to 100,000. Most of those were from the U.S., followed by the United Arab Emirates and Germany.
The numbers, though nowhere close to the pre-pandemic statistics, apparently encouraged government officials to revise their tourist arrival forecast for this year, from 180,000 to 200,000. The forecast was published by the Fiscal Policy Office, which operates under the Ministry of Finance.
Fiscal Policy Office director Pornchai Thiraveja told the media that next year will likely bring in up to 6 million foreign tourists, and the number will rise to 7 million if Chinese nationals are permitted to travel overseas again.
Pornchai also said that the introduction of any new economic stimulus measures will depend on the severity of the pandemic situation. He believes government spending of around 3.1 billion baht during the fiscal year of 2022 will greatly boost the economy.
On Nov. 1, Thailand launched its “Test and Go” program for travelers from an approved list of 64 countries and territories. Fully vaccinated tourists who arrived under the program must wait inside their hotel rooms up to one night to wait for their PCR test result. If the result comes back negative, they can freely travel around the country.
The government has hoped that the minimal quarantine would draw visitors back to Thailand, whose economy relied on the tourism sector. Prior to the pandemic, at least 38 million international tourists arrived in Thailand in 2019, compared to just over 100,000 this year.