Indians and Malaysians are leading a tourist influx to Thailand after the country eased entrance restrictions, with total arrivals surpassing two million since the beginning of the year.
Foreign tourist arrivals totaled 2.03 million between 1 January and 26 June, according to a statement by Deputy Government Spokesman Traisuree Taisaranakul on Monday.
Arrivals from India, Malaysia, the UK, Singapore, and the US topped the list, she said.
Thailand’s tourism industry, which was nearly wiped out by the pandemic, expects a rise in average monthly arrivals up to approximately 1.5 million beginning in July, when the ‘Thailand Pass’ system will be terminated, according to The Star.
Thailand’s Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) announced the complete cancellation of the Thailand Pass system for travelers entering Thailand this month, doing away with pre-arrival registration and insurance.
The second-largest economy in South-East Asia has also eased most of its pandemic-era restrictions on travel and business, with pubs and bars now permitted to resume normal operating hours.
A weaker currency and the recent legalization of cannabis may also help bring back more tourists to Thailand, Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said last week.
The ministry has set a conservative prediction for foreign arrivals of 7.5 million this year, based on the assumption that Chinese visitors will be absent owing to China’s Covid-Zero policy.
According to official figures, nearly 30 percent of the 40 million tourists Thailand received in 2019, the year before the pandemic, were Chinese.
The country is now seeing a larger share of Indian and Malaysian visitors.