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SCB Analysts Predict Further Growth In Thailands Tourism Next Year

Bangkok, Wed Nov 23 2016
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Thailand's tourism industry is expected to grow 11% next year, slightly up from this year, says Siam Commercial Bank. Vithan Charoenphon, head of the service cluster at SCB's Economic Intelligence Center, said Thailand will welcome 33.8 million foreign tourists this year. This will drive the industry to grow 10% thanks to a sharp rise in Chinese tourists, who represent about 30% of total arrivals. “Thailand has high potential to draw more Chinese tourists to visit despite the impact of the recent zero-dollar tour crackdown” he said.

Mr Vithan said Chinese tourists coming to Thailand represent only 9% of the 100 million Chinese people making overseas trips annually. According to MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index 2016, Bangkok is the world's most-visited city this year, owing to cheaper living costs and availability of facilities for travel and entertainment. Tourism has become a key driver of economic growth, with international tourist arrivals growing an average of 10% annually in the past three years. “We should also focus more on building sustainable growth in the long term to stay competitive” Mr Vithan said.

Medical tourism attracts visitors from countries where healthcare expenses are very high such as Australia, Germany and France, or some countries with low quality healthcare such as Myanmar. Countries with massive populations like India and Indonesia are showing a very strong potential to become significant tourist markets, with the rise of middle-income groups. “The government should support the development of new tourist attractions such as theme parks, water parks and museums as well as organising international sports events” Mr Vithan added.

Mr Vithan suggests that government and private sectors should jointly put serious efforts to developing human resources, maintaining tourism sites and public assets as well as investing in well-connected transport infrastructure. SCB EIC added that tourism personnel are in need of training about business ethics, technology, creativity and innovation as well as language skills and service quality.

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