Thailand welcomed 7.8 million visitors in the first quarter and 7.0 million in the second, up by 23 and 37 per cent respectively compared with the same periods last year. A total of 7.4 million are expected in the current quarter, up by 26 per cent from the third quarter of 2014. He said total arrivals should reach 30 million this year, an increase from the earlier projection of 28.8 million, for a 22.8-per-cent improvement over 2014. Total income from the international and domestic markets will also be higher than the original prediction of Bt2.2 trillion, at Bt2.3 trillion, of which Bt1.5 trillion will be from the international market.
"The bomb blast at Erawan Shrine in Bangkok last month hit the sector, but only for a short time. This fear will not affect the industry during the coming high season," Ittirit said.
China will remain the biggest source of arrivals, with 8 million this year. Visits from Southeast Asia are expected to rebound this month. However, the Russian market is expected to continue falling through early next year.
Since the incident, Thailand has lost 1.3 million tourists. However, the tourism situation is bouncing back as safety matters are now seen as under control and the sector should enjoy significant growth in the final quarter of the year, Ittirit said.
"Hong Kong will withdraw its travel warning within three or four days," he added.
In order to encourage tourists back to the Kingdom, the TCT, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the private sector plan to invite celebrities from Hong Kong and mainland China to perform concerts in Bangkok and visit the Erawan Shine within the next few months to rebuild confidence in those two markets.
Ittirit said many other development plans had been drafted and would soon be proposed to the government. Suggested measures include restoring damaged attractions, developing new products and services, providing financial aid to affected operators and facilitating business expansion, and enhancing human resources.
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