Bangkok, Jan 23 (SocialNews.XYZ) Thailand saw 11.81 million tourists in 2022, up from just 400,000 the previous year, but the figure was still lower than the record 39.8 million people that visited the Southeast Asian country in 2019.
The figures were released by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) on Monday and predicted that 2022's number will double to 25 million this year, reports the BBC.
The country is set to start charging overseas visitors 300 baht ($9.20) each from the start of June and now it has a target to increase tourist numbers to 80 million a year by 2027.
Tourism revenue accounted for more than 10 per cent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019, says the TAT.
In 2021, it was just 1 per cent.
By aiming to more than double the number of people who visited before the pandemic, the Thai government hopes to see tourism spending rise above $150 billion.
"This target, once achieved, could raise the country's tourism revenue to 5 trillion baht in 2027," the BBC quoted the government's Public Relations Department as saying in a Facebook post.
The announcement also said Thailand plans to upgrade "tourism safety standards in order to accommodate the influx of visitors".
Like much of Southeast Asia, Thailand is expected to see a jump in tourist numbers from China, which dropped the strict border controls it put in place during the pandemic.
In December 2022, China's immigration administration said passport applications for its citizens wishing to travel internationally would resume from January 8.
The announcement brought to an end almost three years of strict quarantine rules for arrivals and prompted a rush of people booking overseas trips, with travel sites reporting a spike in traffic.
Before the pandemic, China was Thailand's biggest source of tourists, with almost 11 million visitors in 2019.
This year the country is expecting at least five million Chinese tourists.