Thailand sees 12.5 million visitors so far in 2023 as tourism recovers

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand has welcomed 12.46 million foreign tourists so far this year, with Malaysia, China and Russia the top three source markets, according to the latest government figures.

Thailand is targeting 25 million foreign tourists for the whole year, with Chinese visitors seen at 5 million, it said in a statement released on Sunday, which cited figures from Jan. 1 to June 25.

The Southeast Asian country, for years one of Asia’s most popular travel destinations, received a record of nearly 40 million foreign tourists in pre-pandemic 2019 before authorities imposed two years of crippling COVID-19 curbs.

The tourism sector, a key source of Thailand’s jobs and growth, picked up in 2022 with 11.15 million visitors, after most restrictions were removed in the second half of the year.

(Reporting by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Martin Petty)