Thailand expects 7-10 million foreign tourists this year, says tourism minister


BANGKOK, June 2 (Reuters): Thailand expects to receive 7 to 10 million foreign tourists this year following an easing of Covid-19 restrictions, the tourism minister has announced.

In the first five months of this year, the South-East Asian country welcomed 1.31 million foreign tourists, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn told parliament during a budget bill debate.

Thailand is also expected to meet its revenue collection targets for the 2022 and 2023 fiscal years, helped by increased exports and a recovery in tourism, the finance minister had announced earlier.

The South-East Asian country has lifted most of its Covid-19 curbs, allowing nightlife to resume from Wednesday, to revive its crucial tourism sector.

Despite a global surge in food and energy prices, several Thai economic indicators like exports were still performing well, Arkhom Termpittayapaisith told the House of Representatives, which is debating a budget bill for the 2023 fiscal year.

The government proposed spending of 3.185 trillion baht ($92.8 billion) and targets revenue of 2.49 trillion baht for the next fiscal year starting in October to aid economic recovery.

Arkhom said there would be more tourism revenue following a reopening to foreign visitors while higher imports would also help increase tax revenue.

The state planning agency forecast 7 million foreign tourist arrivals this year, though still far below the 40 million foreign arrivals in 2019, before the pandemic.

Exports, a key driver of Thai growth, have performed well so far with 'satisfactory' growth between January and April, Arkhom said, as annual shipments rose 13.7% over the period.

Exports will continue to drive the economy, while inflation of below 5% so far this year is still at a good level, Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit told the lower house. - Reuters

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