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Published on Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Thailand targeting 41 million tourist arrivals this year

Thailand expects foreign tourist arrivals will breach the 40 million barrier in 2019.

The country welcomed 38 million tourist arrivals last year and is aiming for similar growth of about 8%.

Thailand's Minister of Tourism Weerasak Kowsurat has said he expects a new record of 41.1 million in 2019.

Foreign tourist spending now accounts for 12% of GDP, fuelled by its biggest source market of China.

The China market has rebounded after an initial dip following concerns of safety after a deadly boat accident last year.

At the ASEAN Tourism Forum this month in Vietnam, the minister acknowledged the challenges of handling tourist numbers which exceeds the entire population of Canada.

Thailand has been focusing on secondary destinations, notably with its 'Hidden Shades' campaign and the promotion of niche tourism, such as sports, wellness and culinary.

It is showcasing 55 towns and regions which can help disperse tourism away from overcrowded perennial favourites like Phuket and Chiang Mai.

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