Thailand expects record 41.1 million foreign tourists in 2019

The number of tourists coming to Thailand will hit a record 41.1 million in 2019, the country’s government said. The tourists are expected to spend 2.21 trillion baht and the number of visitors is projected to rise 11 per cent to 11.69 million.

The country saw a record 38.27 million tourists in 2018, up 7.5 per cent from 2017. The December tourist arrivals were 3.85 million, and the arrivals are projected to climb about 8 per cent from last year’s 38.3 million.

To put that in perspective, the flood of arrivals exceeds the population of Canada.

Chinese tourists are returning after a slowdown sparked by a tour boat tragedy that triggered concerns about safety standards. The number of Chinese holidaymakers rose 2.8 per cent in December from a year earlier, to 838,634.

Chinese visitors are the top source of foreign receipts in an industry that makes up about a fifth of the economy. Tourism is a key engine of growth, but managing the influx is a challenge amid pressure on the environment as well as clogged international airports.

“The 41 million is a projection from the current trend,” said Weerasak Kowsurat, Tourism Minister, Thailand. “If we actually really reach that level, I’ll have a headache,” he said.