Thailand might get more tourists from the Middle East as a result of US President Donald Trump’s entry ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries, the head of the tourism authority said on Monday.
“The Middle East is a big market for us, especially in the medical tourism sector. They may choose to visit Thailand more and this may also boost our sector,” Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Yuthasak Supasorn told Reuters.
He said Thailand would need to assess the situation further.
The decline in Chinese tourist arrivals is expected to narrow in the first quarter, with a 7% year-on-year drop after a 20% plunge in the previous quarter, according to the Governor.
Mr Yuthasak said the improvement in Chinese tourism will be backed by the Chinese New Year holidays, January 27-February 5, and a higher number of chartered flights to Thailand.
Chinese tourist arrivals are forecast at 2.43 million in Q1, representing a 7% contraction year-on-year.
Despite the 7% shortfall in Chinese tourists in Q1, Thailand expects a 3% rise in total foreign tourist arrivals to 9.3 million during the period y-o-y.