With travellers heading for Thailand’s tourist hotspots, the tourism and related industries are experiencing good times, with people seeing the bus to Bangkok from Chiang Mai used more often, and hotels being sold out wholesale.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand, however, looks to further boost numbers, having set a target of 8% growth for the tourism revenue of the country from the international market, with additional goals to boost tourism from the ASEAN region. Both plans they revealed through the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2018, which was held in Thailand’s northern cultural hotspot, Chiang Mai.
The country welcomed approximately 35M international visitors back in 2017 raking in around US$53B, with an additional 9M ASEAN visitors in the country within the same year.
Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications TanesPetsuwan says that visitor arrivals will continue to grow for the country in the coming years, due to Thailand’s unbeatable geographic location, and connections with international markets and neighboring countries. Tanes says that the country’s international airports handle 135 scheduled and chartered airlines, with low-cost airlines increasing their traffic from neighbouring countries, such as Vietnam, and China, among others, not only to the capital, but also to the other popular tourist hotspots such as Phuket, and Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai, in particular, is enjoying convenient air access, giving additional options for those looking to forego taking the bus to Bangkok from Chiang Mai, with 18,000 international flights landing in the local Chiang Mai International Airport. In December of 2017, Qatar Airways launched a new, direct flight route with no stops from Doha, Qatar to Chiang Mai.
With regards to the ASEAN region, Tanes says that the country has the best connections, with about 30 overland border checkpoints open for international visitors looking to travel by land, with Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Laos, as well as four Friendship Bridges with Laos, and one with Myanmar currently in the pipeline.
Tanes says that the ASEAN Highway is rapidly growing, and is set to provide road connectivity, past the nearby countries and up to China and India, with rail travel set to become key infrastructure as a result. In response, Thailand has high-speed railway link currently under planning.