KUALA LUMPUR: Thailand remains Malaysians favoured tourist destination with three million visitors, for the first nine months this year.
And the figure is expected to hit four million Malaysians by the year’s end, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) revealed.
TAT’s Asian and South Pacific markets deputy governor Tanes Petsuwan emphasised the significance of Malaysia as a pivotal short-term market for Thailand.
He highlighted the year-round appeal of Thailand as a tourist destination, citing its accessibility via both land routes through the southern border and by air, facilitated by numerous airlines.
“The recent launch of MyAirline’s new routes from Malaysia to Thailand in July, reflects the growing enthusiasm among Malaysians to explore Thailand.
“Just October last year, TAT staged the ‘Amazing Thailand, A Million Thanks to the Malaysians’ reception in Kuala Lumpur to celebrate the achievement of one million tourists from Malaysia.
“And for this year, from January to September, Thailand has already welcomed three million Malaysian tourists, and it is possible to reach four million by the end of this year,” Tanes said at the ‘Honouring Partners and Treasured Friendship’ event for travel and tour agents, and journalists at the InterContinental Hotel in Jalan Ampang.
Present were TAT’s Asean, South Asia and the South Pacific region executive director Sukanya Sirikanjanakul and TAT’s Kuala Lumpur director Sirinthara Surakanitaya.
The event, Tanes said, was to express a gratitude to the valued travel partners, media and everyone involved who had been promoting and enhancing Thailand’s tourism in the Malaysian market.
“It also marked a celebration of our collective success in welcoming three million Malaysians to Thailand between January and September 2023,” he said.
Sukanya emphasised the increasing convenience of travel between Malaysia and Thailand and the diverse preferred Malaysian interests in activities like the delectable Thai cuisine, shopping and traditional massages.
“Whether they are travelling as families, repeat visitors or first-time explorers there is always something attractive in Thailand.
“Additionally, there is also a growing trend of Malaysian companies and organisations choosing Thailand as a destination for meetings, seminars, social gatherings, study and various corporate activities,” said Sukanya.
Sirinthara pointed out that Malaysia currently represented the largest source of travellers to Thailand, with a particular affinity for the southern and northern regions.
She also noted an emerging trend of tourists seeking to explore other parts of Thailand such as the northern, eastern, northeastern, and western regions, evidenced by an increasing number of inquiries and discussions about travel options.
Sirinthara further anticipated a continued rise in tourist arrivals during the final quarter of 2023, particularly during the high season, driven by factors such as school holidays in Malaysia and significant celebrations like Deepavali, Christmas and New Year.
“TAT pledges to collaborate closely with partners, conduct marketing promotions, and organise outreach activities throughout Malaysia to stimulate travel, especially during the holiday season and New Year’s festivities,” she said.
At the ‘Honouring Partners and Treasured Friendship’, guests were treated to a captivating performance featuring contemporary dance, live band music and a Thai traditional instrument music band from Chiang Mai, adding a cultural touch to the occasion.
Meanwhile, the Thai government announced that it had received 18.53 million foreign tourist arrivals to date this year, accounting for 775.3 billion baht (US$21.82 billion) in revenue.
The Tourism and Sports Ministry predicted 28 million foreign arrivals soon, with the figure expected to further rise during the holiday season of November and December.
Thailand’s projection for the tourism industry this year is up to 30 million arrivals with an injection of 1.5 trillion baht.
Malaysia topped the tourist list with 2,920,803 arrivals, followed by China 2,230,707, South Korea 1,072,928, India 1,033,582 and Russia 930,696.
The ministry revealed that it was noteworthy that Malaysians had outnumbered the traditional visitors from India, China and Russia.
“Just three weeks ago, there were 505,006 foreign arrivals, translating 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 8.22% overall.
“We expect the number of foreign arrivals to start dropping temporarily, before it peaks towards the year end.
“We also take into consideration the fluctuations in fuel costs affecting the aviation industry and the Russia-Ukraine conflict influencing foreign exchange rates that are expected to hurt the travel industry,” said a ministry spokesman. – airtimes.my