Numbers rising as Thailand receives over nine million foreign tourist arrivals in Jan-Nov; Malaysians biggest source market

BANGKOK, Dec 2 (Reuters): Thailand recorded about 9.4 million foreign tourist arrivals from January to November and should see at least 10 million visitors for the full year, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said on Friday.

The country is currently seeing about 50,000 to 60,000 foreign tourists per day during the high season, TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn told Reuters.

So far this year, Malaysia has been Thailand's biggest source market, with 1.5 million arrivals, he added.

"But we are seeing a shift in the number of long-distance tourists like more Russians coming to Thailand... as they escape the cold weather to travel to Thailand," he said.

While Russia is not still in the top five source markets, the number of tourists had moved up since October, when were direct flights became available to Bangkok and the resort island of Phuket, Yuthasak said.

Before the pandemic, Russia was in the top five, with nearly 2 million visitors, he said.

A revival of tourism is a key driver of growth in Southeast Asia's second-largest economy, and the central bank predicts 10.5 million foreign tourist arrivals this year and 22 million in 2023.

That compared with only 428,000 foreign visitors last year, and nearly 40 million in 2019, before the pandemic hit Thailand. - Reuters

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