Thailand Sees Surge in Foreign Tourists in 1H24, Driving Economic Growth Amid Challenges

Thailand welcomed 17.5 million foreign tourists in the first half of 2024, marking a 35% increase compared to the same period in the previous year, according to the announcement from the tourism ministry.

These visitors contributed 825 billion baht in revenue, with China, Malaysia, and India being the leading source markets.

The tourism industry serves as a vital driver of growth in Thailand, offering a rare positive outlook amidst challenges such as declining exports and high household debt in Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy.

The country’s economy expanded by 1.5% in the first quarter of the year, slightly lower than the 1.7% growth in the previous quarter.

In 2019, prior to the pandemic, Thailand set a tourism record with 39.9 million arrivals, generating 1.91 trillion baht in revenue. To attract more foreign visitors, the government has implemented various initiatives, including easing visa restrictions for remote workers and extending visa-free stays.

Earlier in the year, visa requirements for Chinese tourists were permanently lifted, following a similar waiver for Indian travelers in 2023.