Thailand’s tourism trade is on a roll

North American visits to the Asian destination are surging


Tourism officials from the Land of Smiles have every reason to smile as they survey the performance of Thailand’s tourism industry these days.

Thailand — dubbed the Land of Smiles, a name that reflects their cheerful, friendly nature — is reporting robust tourism growth, with Air Canada’s Vancouver-Bangkok service being credited in part with boosting the number of Canadians visiting the Asian nation.

“The tourism sector is one of the most important income generators for Thailand and the Land of Smiles is ready to welcome all travellers from around the world,” Chompu Marusachot, director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s New York City office tells Travel Courier. “Last year, Thailand recorded over 28 million international arrivals. Of these, 930,206 from the U.S. and 214,264 from Canada, a 154% increase compared to 2022.”

The Jan. 1 to May 31 period of this year saw Thailand welcome over 14.76 million international visitors and tourist numbers are expected to include 35 million foreign arrivals and 200 million domestic trips this year.

Tourism officials are grateful for Air Canada’s Vancouver-Bangkok route, the only non-stop flights between North America and Thailand. The route was launched in 2022 as a seasonal service from December through March.

This year, Air Canada moved up the start date to Oct. 13 and it will operate three times weekly through November and five times weekly December-March. It then returns to three times weekly in April with the last flight from YVR on May 1, 2025.

Thailand recently held its annual tourism show, Thailand Travel Mart, the theme of which was ‘Amazing Thailand: Your Stories Never End.’ The theme shines a spotlight on Thailand’s delivering meaningful travel experiences, focusing on what is described as high-value and sustainable tourism. Marusachot says tourists are quick to appreciate their Thai hosts.

“Warmth, kindness, and hospitality are part of who we are,” she says. “We are authentic and unique. It is this, I assure you, that keeps visitors coming back.”

Marusachot adds that Thailand, roughly the size of France, is known for its “immense product diversity. From the fast-paced, modern, yet culturally and historically rich capital city of Bangkok to the charming cities and rural areas of the North or the turquoise water, sun-kissed, sandy, warm all-year-round beach destinations in the South, Thailand has something for everyone.”

Marusachot adds that the diverse nature of her homeland means that “there are so many unseen and undiscovered experiences in Thailand. For example, the idyllic Southern Thai beach resort of Phang-nga is 788 kilometres south of Bangkok and about an hour’s drive from Phuket International Airport. The province boasts stunning geographic features, including three national parks – Ao Phang Nga, Mu Ko Surin, and Mu Ko Similan, a famous fishing village – Ko Panyi, a cave known for its stalagmites and stalactites – Tham Phung Chang, a whitewater rafting adventure on the Song Phraek River, and the beautiful Khao Lak Beach. This year, the Phang-nga tourism industry was honoured to be part of hosting TAT’s flagship Thailand Travel Mart event and showcase one-of-a-kind, meaningful and sustainable tourism experiences Phang-nga has to offer to tourists from around the world.”

Meanwhile, Marusachot says those who enjoy luxury vacations will appreciate Thailand.

“A holiday at Phuket and Phang-Nga can be elevated with a stay at the pool villas, treehouse villas, or even a private island, and be mesmerized by a world of culinary delights, from authentic local specialities to Michelin-starred restaurants,” she says. “Meanwhile, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai offer a luxury Journey through nature and culture. These include travelling on a pontoon along the Mekong River to spend time in a luxury tented camp or boutique hotel, exploring the beauty of the Lanna’s heritage by visiting temples, or relaxing the mind and body at award-winning spas.”

Travellers seeking soft adventure may look to Phang-Nga for many kinds of water sports,  including surfing at Memories Beach and diving at famous diving spots like Similan Island. As well, they can opt for forest walking at famous routes like Doi Inthanon National Park in Chiang Mai and exploring the nature cave at Lam Khlong Ngu National Park in Kanchanaburi.

One market the country has made major inroads in is wellness, with Thai spas having built a large following internationally.

“Today, the world sees wellness as an important requirement for healthy living,” Marusachot states. “In Thailand, wellness is part of our DNA. Our wellness product, according to the international world, is tops. Our traditional Thai massage, from a wellness perspective, is unmatched. Wellness in Thailand however goes beyond massage. It is all encompassing. Sleep and mental wellness are part of Thailand’s product offerings. Healthy cuisine takes on a new meaning in Thailand. If one of your affirmations is to incorporate more wellness into your daily routine, there is no better beginning than right here in Thailand.”

Notably, she says transformational experiences also allow visitors to make deeper connections to both their inner and outer journey are in high demand here in Thailand.

“As part of this trend, our tourism service providers are constantly curating new wellness retreat programs,” she adds. “Many of these programs, for instance, focus on aligning the visitors Chakras and sparking mental clarity.”

Marusachot says those alarmed over climate change will also appreciate Thailand’s stances on the issue.

“While the threat of climate change is an increasingly dire issue globally, our lifestyle in Thailand has always promoted sustainability,” she reports. “It is particularly important to us as it ensures our authenticity.  We are humbled and proud of the efforts to preserve our flora and fauna throughout Thailand. Whether it be our local communities preserving and learning about their mangroves or the continued protection of our local elephant population, methods and practices are constantly enforced to ensure sustainability. Those who visit Thailand can participate or experience activities that highlight authentic, immersive, slow travel. Many of our hotels and resorts have introduced sustainable activities that are fun, enjoyable, and enlightening.”

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