Tourism industry in Thailand - Statistics & Facts

Thailand is one of the world’s leading travel destinations. The country is well-known for its variety of cultural uniqueness: from exotic food to beautiful landscapes and rich cultural heritage. This is one of the reasons why approximately more than 25 million travelers visit Thailand each year, and it is one of the most visited countries by travelers from the U.S when they visit Asia.

The economic impact of tourism

Thailand started to organize its tourism in the late 1950s. During that time, the country had approximately 40 thousand international guests per year. The number of international arrivals per year had since grown continuously to reach millions, and so has the monetary gains from the sector. The revenue generated from tourism businesses in Thailand has shown growth in recent years, in which income mainly flows from the leading visitor countries, which are from Southeast Asia and China. Tourism has also brought opportunities in employment and major business expansions for Thai companies in the tourism sector. Evidently, the size of employment in the Thai tourism industry had been growing since 2017.

Domestic tourism

The capital city of Thailand, Bangkok, is the main destination for a lot of travelers. In 2019, Bangkok was the most visited city in terms of overnight stays and has overtaken London as the most visited city in the world. Bangkok is known for its colorful nightlife, shopping districts and cultural heritage attractions. Apart from Bangkok, other provinces such as Chiang Mai, Phuket and Pattaya are also extremely popular tourist destinations. Travelers also gravitate toward the nature destinations, especially to areas with national parks. Although it has much to offer, Thailand is still ranked quite low in terms of safety and environmental friendliness. However, there has been an increase in government expenditure for environmental protection in recent years with efforts made to clean up popular beaches and islands

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic

The Tourism Authority of Thailand had imposed several measures to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, such as border restrictions and quarantine policies. This had an immediate effect on the tourism industry. The usually bustling tourist attractions and shopping venues were immediately less crowded, and cancelled flights resulted in empty airports. The Thai tourism industry was drastically affected by such measures as it relies on tourist arrivals and spending. This has then proceeded to affect many small-scale business owners which rely on customers from foreign visitors, especially Chinese visitors. Compared to other countries in the Asia Pacific, Thailand was one of the top five countries which has lost tourist arrivals in 2020. Additionally, Thailand was also among the leading countries in the Asia Pacific to be economically affected by the coronavirus pandemic, with China being affected the most.

The future of Thai tourism

Thailand is a global destination which has remarkably grown its tourism sector throughout the years. The coronavirus had adversely affected the tourism sector and has proven to be a major challenge for many businesses. However, the situation is also an opportunity for Thailand to work on its flaws to be a better and cleaner travel destination in the near future. The number of international tourists was already forecasted to pick up by the fourth quarter of 2020. Considering that there were no foreign visitors in the second quarter of the same year, this forecast indicates an improvement for the Thai tourism industry.

Interesting statistics

In the following 6 chapters, you will quickly find the 30 most important statistics relating to "Tourism industry in Thailand".

Tourism industry in Thailand

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Economic impact

Inbound and outbound travelers

Tourist destinations


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