he number of foreign tourists arriving in Thailand in August increased by 5.59% compared to the previous year, a pleasant surprise brought by the return of Chinese visitors, said the Ministry of Tourism.
The 3.41 million international arrivals in August represent a turnover of 170 billion baht (5.1 billion euros), an increase of 7.12% over one year, the ministry said.
The number of Chinese tourists, the Kingdom’s largest source of visitors, jumped 15.6% in August year-on-year to 1 million, after increasing 5.81% in July, following five consecutive months of decline.
Between January and August, the number of foreign tourists increased by 2.6% compared to 2018 to 26.5 million.
The authorities have found some optimism and now estimate that the number of foreign travellers will exceed the 40 million mark this year, a record figure, said Narumon Pinyosinwat, the government spokeswoman.
« The prime minister has instructed relevant agencies to address any impact of an influx of foreign tourists on the public, environment and infrastructure, » she added.
Last year, Thailand welcomed 38.3 million foreigners. However, the sinking of the Phoenix near Phuket Island, which killed 47 Chinese visitors, was the starting point for a drop in the number of tourists from China.
Tourism is one of the main contributors to the country’s growth, with foreign revenues accounting for nearly 12% of the gross domestic product (GDP).