On July 1, 2022, the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) fully reopens the country for international tourist arrivals by cancelling Thailand Pass registration and health insurance requirements for foreigners – this action is a major supportive factor for Thai tourism, which has long been affected by COVID-19. Thailand’s reopening at this time is very important, as it should prompt a surge of inbound tourists in the second half of 2022, particularly during the high season. Also, if the authorities can still control the COVID-19 situation, this will be a boon to domestic tourism in the next phase.
Thanks to such positive factors, the number of inbound tourists this year may be higher than previously expected. KResearch projects that during the second half of 2022 there will be approximately 5.0 million inbound tourists, or growth of 160.0 percent compared to the first half of 2022, with the result that the number of inbound tourists during 2022 may reach 7.2 million (from the prior estimate of 4.0 million), generating tourism receipts of around THB405 billion. Tourists from East Asia is set to be a key driver for inbound tourism during the rest of 2022, while Indian tourist arrivals are expected to be the largest group of inbound travelers during 2022.
However, several circumstances remain quite uncertain. Besides the possible further impact of COVID-19 on government measures, risks from the Russia-Ukraine war pose more challenges to European tourists. As the Russia-Ukraine crisis is expected to persist, sanctions against Russia will likely affect the recovery of tourist markets from Russia and Eastern Europe during the remainder of 2022. Regarding other European tourist markets, the “energy war” between Russia and European countries must be closely monitored.
In addition, countries worldwide are facing rising energy prices and soaring inflation, resulting in higher costs of living. This may affect tourists’ confidence and decisions regarding overseas travel during the remainder of the year.