An uptrend is expected in Thailand's foreign tourist arrivals during 2017. Although severe flooding in the South may hurt business at some destinations, that situation should only be short-term. Amid the slowdown in Chinese on tour here due to the Thai government's crackdown of ;zero dollar tours”, given efforts to cope with the negative impacts of this and attempts to foster greater understanding among Chinese tour operators, this may also be short-lived. Over the long term, controls over illegal tourism should foster greater quality in Thai tourism.
Contributing factors to tourism growth may include intense marketing by the government and private businesses, as well as the interest of some foreign airlines toward expanding flights to Thailand (according to a report by the Airports of Thailand, incoming foreign flights rose 10.2 percent YoY during FY2016), especially low-cost carriers that help increase the number of foreign tourists coming here.
Potential is also seen in some niches. With ASEAN holidaymakers, growth may be supported by joint regional government efforts to develop tourism within the region. Just as the UK, Germany and France are key markets, the number of Russian tourists here has been rising fast. Another promising market is the Mideast that grew 13.2 percent YoY in 2016, beating the overall market average.
Considering this, KResearch expects that total foreign tourist arrivals to Thailand in 2017 may reach 33.50-34.15 million, representing an increase of 2.8-4.8 percent YoY, versus the 8.9-percent growth of 2016. However, certain risks exist in macroeconomic factors, such as economic and foreign currency exchange directions in key markets, and each country's policy toward boosting domestic tourism, plus microeconomic factors, e.g., market competition, that may affect tourists' choices in destinations, not to mention other changes in tourist behavior that may sway trends.
As for tourism receipts in 2017, KResearch expects total income of THB1.76-1.79 trillion, up by 7.3-9.1 percent YoY, versus an expected 12.6 percent growth YoY for 2016. This year, the government plans to promote Thailand as an ASEAN tourism hub, as well as new tourism products that are aimed at boosting revenues for businesses other than those specific to tourism.