Malaysians lead the way with almost three million visitors as Thailand sees 18.5 million foreign tourists so far this year

BANGKOK: Thailand has received 18.53 million foreign tourist arrivals from so far this year with spending of 775.3 billion baht (US$21.82 billion), the tourism ministry announce to the media on Tuesday.

The state planning agency predicts 28 million foreign arrivals this year. Arrivals are expected to further rise in a big way during the holiday season of November and December.

The latest figures from the Tourism and Sports Ministry shows of data from January 1 to September 3, says a report from The Nation Thailand.

Thailand’s projection for the tourism industry this year is up to 30 million arrivals with an injection of 1.5 trillion baht.

The top five countries with the highest number of arrivals are: • Malaysia: 2,920,803; • China: 2,230,707; • South Korea: 1,072,928; • India: 1,033,582 and • Russia: 930,696.

It is among the few times that Malaysian visitors to Thailand has outnumbered of those from China and Russia.

Last week alone saw 505,006 foreign arrivals, which translates to an average of 72,229 visitors daily.

This year has seen a 15.51% increase in tourists from Malaysia, though tourists from China, South Korea and India have reduced by 27.08%, 10.60% and 4.28%, respectively. Arrivals from the Asean region have risen by 8.22% overall.

The ministry, however, expects the number of foreign arrivals to start dropping from next week because it is not peak travel season in many countries.

Plus, fluctuations in fuel costs affecting the aviation industry and the Russia-Ukraine conflict influencing foreign exchange rates are also expected to hurt the travel industry.

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