The increasing revenue from tourism is likely to help boost the Thai economy and offset a decline in Thailand’s export growth in 2013. According to a report from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, International tourist arrivals from January to September 2013 brought in 863 million baht in tourism income, accounting for an increase of 23 percent over the same period in 2012.
Another report from the Ministry of Commerce shows that Thai exports from January to August in 2013 expanded by only one percent. The slower-than-expected global economic recovery is the main reason for the export slowdown. It is expected, however, that export growth will accelerate in the second half of the year.
According to a recent report by the World Bank, the global impacts have shrunk Thailand's exports in the first half of 2013, expanding by only 1.2 percent. It is predicted that export growth for the entire year may be 2.5 percent. Thai exports from September to December 2013 are expected to increase by at least 4-5 percent, while imports will rise by 6 percent.
However, Thailand’s tourism industry remains promising. An analysis made by the Center for International Trade Studies, University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, indicates that during the weakening export situation, more tourism income will help drive the economy.
Statistics compiled by the United Nations World Tourism Organization show that, among the ASEAN countries, Malaysia came first as the most-visited destination in 2012, with 25 million international tourists. Thailand came second, with 22.3 million visitors, and Singapore came third, with 14 million tourist arrivals. Indonesia ranked fourth, with eight million visitors, followed by Vietnam, with 6.8 million visitors, and the Philippines, with 4.4 million tourist arrivals. Malaysia is likely to remain the top ASEAN destination in terms of tourist arrivals in 2013.
The Ministry of Tourism and Sports believes that Thailand will be able to welcome 26 million international visitors throughout 2013. Meanwhile, the Cabinet, during its meeting on 15 October 2013, approved a proposal for the Office of Justice Affairs, Ministry of Justice, to establish a tourist case group to allow special handling for cases involving visitors. The project aims to expedite the judicial process for foreign tourists and provide them with better protection. It is expected to help increase confidence in Thailand among international visitors.
This pilot project will be carried out by seven courts of justice in major tourist destinations, namely Pattaya, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Samui Island, Krabi, and two locations in Bangkok – Pathum Wan and Dusit districts.
Thailand earned 984 billion baht in tourism revenue in 2012. The Government has set a target to achieve 2.2 trillion baht in tourism revenue by 2015. Thailand aims to be a tourism hub in ASEAN and it has put an emphasis on safety for all tourists.