11 July 2024

Tourists entering Thailand from Malaysia are expected to outnumber Indian tourists after the scrapping of the “Thailand Pass” requirement from July 1st, said Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn yesterday (Thursday).

According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, 123,606 Indian tourists arrived in the country in the first five months of this year, followed by 96,323 from Britain, 78,523 from Malaysia, 77,707 from Germany and 72,482 from the United States. Total arrivals in that period were 1,336,068.

He admitted that he had hoped that the removal of “Thailand Pass” requirement would attract more tourists to Thailand, estimated at about 900,000 a month, up from between 400,000-500,000 in May and about 700,000 this month.

He said that the incentives that attract foreign tourists to Thailand include the weakening of the Thai baht against the US dollar, the relatively low cost of living in Thailand and reasonable hotel room rates.

Regarding tourists from the Middle East, the minister said that about 15,000 arrived in May, and that is expected to increase to over 20,000 this month, as he expects total such arrivals for the whole year to be at least 300,000.

Despite fewer arrivals, compared to those from other countries, he noted that the average spending of one Middle Eastern tourist in Thailand is double that of the other nationalities.

Phiphat said he does not expect an increase in Chinese arrivals, due to current lockdowns in some Chinese cities.

Foreign visitors will also no longer be required to have proof of health insurance coverage of at least US$10,000 from July 1st. They are, however, required to show proof of vaccination or a negative result from a COVID test taken within 72 hours prior to departure for Thailand. A COVID test at the point of entry will be required for tourists who don’t have the relevant paperwork.