The value of tourism to Thailand’s economy has been underlined, with the revelation that the sector accounted for almost 18% of the country’s GDP in 2016.
The Bangkok Post reported the permanent secretary to Thailand’s Tourism & Sports Ministry, Pongpanu Svetarundra, as saying that tourism revenues comprised 17.7% of Thai GDP last year. The proportion is expected to remain at 17-18% in 2017, despite a predicted 8.2% increase in tourism revenues this year.
The global average proportion of tourism revenue to GDP is 9%.
“Tourism revenue is estimated to generate THB2.71 trillion (US$77.1 billion) worth of income this year, up 8.17% from 2016, with THB1.78 trillion stemming from foreign tourists and THB934 billion,” Pongpanu was quoted saying. “However, this is quite risky for the Thai economy as the industry will be hard hit if a negative event occurs that scares away visitors.”
The ministry also revealed that international arrivals to Thailand increased 6.5% in January 2017, to 3.2 million, while tourism revenues jumped 10.3% to THB169bn.