BANGKOK: Thailand is expecting to enjoy a 12 per cent increase in tourism revenue from both international and domestic markets during the four-day New Year period from 31 December, 2016 to 3 January, 2017. This will boost revenue for the Thai economy by a total of 13.37 billion Baht (US$382 million). Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of TAT said, “These expectations are based on contributing factors including numbers of flights and forward bookings for the New Year period as well as the many tourism stimulus measures introduced by the Royal Thai Government, such as, the tourist visa fee waiver scheme and tax breaks for domestic tourist spending. In addition, domestic tourism revenue is expected to boom because of the cooler weather and traditional events being held to mark the beginning of the New Year. These include the Candlelight of Siam ceremony as well as the cross-year prayer activities that will make the start of 2017 memorably Thai.” It is expected that Thailand will welcome a total of 375,000 overseas visitors during the four-day period, from 31 December, 2016 to 3 January, 2017, representing an increase of 5 per cent over the same period of last year. Revenue earning is forecasted at 5.55 billion Baht (US$157.14 million), up 12 per cent year-on-year.
Contributing factors for this rise in prospective visitor numbers include an increase in charter flights – in addition to regular scheduled flights to Thailand – during the period from 30 December, 2016 to 3 January, 2017. Some 65 flights with a total capacity of around 16,389 seats will be landing in Thai airports, the majority coming from China, Russia, Sweden and Japan. In addition, starting from December, 2016, 5 new air routes from India, Qatar, Russia and China are coming into Thailand totaling 25 flights per week. Moreover, Thailand is seeing a 3 per cent increase on forward bookings on the same period. Thailand is also one of the top 3 most popular winter destinations for travellers from Russia. The Kingdom has also ranked as one of the preferred destinations in the 4th quarter for Japanese tourists according to figures from the Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA). Domestic tourism has also been given a boost by various initiatives including the longer New Year break and cool weather which encourages Thai people to travel more domestically. There has also been a government tax deduction on domestic tour packages and hotel accommodation. In addition, many domestic tourists are taking the chance to explore some of the Royal Projects as a way of honouring the memory of King Rama IX and many events have been planned to help unite the nation and foster a sense of pride in Thailand and its culture and attractions.
The New Year’s Eve Candlelight of Siam ceremony to be held in Sanam Luang and nationwide on the evening of 31 December is one such event aimed at showcasing the nation’s culture and bringing a sense of Thainess, national pride and unity to the kingdom as the year ends. “It is Thailand’s unique culture and warmth – its Thainess – that brings in so many visitors. And there is no better time than the year’s end, for locals and visitors alike to celebrate what makes the country so special. We want everyone to travel, explore, eat and enjoy themselves over New Year while we look forward to greeting even more tourists in 2017,” said Mr. Yuthasak.