Tourism is the major growth driver of Thailand and it is expected that tourists will continue to visit the country in 2017 in spite of the decline in Chinese arrivals. Private tourism operators remain optimistic that Chinese tourists will return in spite of the crackdown on zero-dollar tours in September.
The Tourism and Sports Ministry predicts that revenue from tourism in 2017 will reach about 2.71 trillion baht, out of which 1.78 trillion baht will be generated from foreign tourists. 2017 expects 35 million foreign tourists in Thailand up from the 32.5 million in 2016.
Growth in Thai tourism will be driven by the country’s economic recovery as a result of stimulus measures and massive infrastructure developments. It is also expected that more tourists from the neighboring countries in Southeast Asia will visit Thailand considering that it is an aviation hub in the region. There are good connections from Thailand to main and secondary cities all over the world. Major airports in Phuket, Don Mueang and U-tapao have expanded. There are also better transport networks for both roads and rail to make tourism more convenient.
Chinese tourists remain to be the major source market for Thailand tourism because they represent at least 30% of international arrivals. In spite of the zero-dollar crackdown, the Tourism Authority of Thailand predicts that arrival of Chinese tourists will grow to 9.8 million compared to the 8.8 million in 2016. 60% of Chinese tourist arrivals are free independent travelers while the remaining 40% join tour groups. 50% of the tour groups are attracted to the zero-dollar Thai tourist packages.
Even if the tour packages are lot more expensive, Chinese tourists do not mind the expense because they want to enjoy Thai food and culture. The impact of the crackdown will be short-lived and the number of Chinese tourists will be back to normal in 2017.
It is very difficult for investors to resist the advantages of investment development in Phuket. The island is one of the favorite destinations of global travelers because of the presence of different entertainment options. Tourists require accommodations which increases the rental revenues of condos, apartments and villas.