Thailand has set a lofty goal of luring 150,000 high-value Saudi Arabian tourists to boost tourism.
Siripakorn Cheawsamoot, deputy governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) for Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas, stated that improved diplomatic relations between Thailand and Saudi Arabia had had a significant impact on Thailand’s tourism business.
The number of Saudi Arabian travelers to Thailand has increased significantly between 2015 and 2023, according to statistics. Thailand received 25,153 Saudi Arabian visitors in 2015. Its figure increased to 33,038 in 2016, and 42,610 in 2017. In 2018, the figure fell slightly to 35,090, but it rose to 36,783 in 2019. According to Siripakorn, the number increased to 96,389 in 2022, a significant increase owing to strengthened diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Furthermore, the number of Saudi Arabian tourists was 21,388 in the first three months of 2023. Given this growing tendency, Siripakorn stated that the TAT has set a target of luring 150,000 Saudi Arabian tourists this year, with the aim that the tourists will contribute up to 120 billion baht to the Thai economy. “Saudi visitors frequently arrive in Thailand as pairs.” They also stay in premium hotels and have a large spending capacity, with short excursions costing an average of 100,000 baht per person. “Thailand has a chance to attract more of these high-value tourists,” Siripakorn said.
According to Siripakorn, 53% of Saudi Arabian tourists are first-time visitors, while 43% have already visited Thailand and are returning for a second time.
Thailand has also considered promoting Islamic tourism in general, which is essential to many Saudi Arabian visitors. According to the Tourist Board, Pattaya is a perfect fit for this sort of tourism due to its various natural attractions such as islands and beaches, as well as family attractions such as water parks, gardens, and animal facilities. Pattaya also has a growing Muslim community and a wide range of Halal culinary options.