It is staggering to even imagine almost 80-million tourists a year in Thailand from the current 38-million now (2018). It is the growth of epic proportions, yet this is what is forecast. Some may raise a cautious eyebrow to this prediction but there are not that many reasons as to suggest why this would not be the case. Just look at what is happening now with Chinese and Indian travellers to the country.
Also, bear in mind in just three short years (2023) the high-speed train linking the two main Bangkok airports and Pattaya’s U-Tapao will be complete and this alone will make a massive difference to numbers seen in Pattaya and across the Eastern Seaboard. Notably, one would imagine, with many Bangkokians electing to live along the coastline and commute into Bangkok. That’s not just guesswork, for sure that will happen.
For what it is worth these are my observations and personal views on what may happen between now and 2030, so this is my disclaimer now that of course, I could get it all wrong what will happen!
Pattaya cannot possibly cope with double the tourists and an injection of residents from Bangkok, which is why it is inevitable development will continue along Na-Jomtien, Bangsaray right into Rayong.
First-tier tourist locations will no doubt swell with more tourists but the smaller second and third-tier locations in Thailand will be able to get a share of the tourists arriving. Again, fairly obvious, especially given that TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand) have been focusing on this for the last 3 or 4 years already.
What is also interesting is how technology and environmental concern has been advancing so much over the years, so what we see now will not be what we see in 2030. The tourism industry will have to clean up its act, so islands like Koh Samet which already accommodates more visitors that the island can manage will need to improve. Last I heard was managing the rubbish due to the tourists on this island was causing serious issues.
If the iconic beach Maya Bay on Koh Phi Phi has been forced to close indefinitely due to tourist numbers destroying corals – how will Thailand beaches cope with DOUBLE the tourists in 2030?
For as much as 80-million tourists will have wonderful benefits on the Thai economy, it could come at a huge environmental cost to the country if not managed correctly.
One thing is for sure, Thailands tourism industry will be unrecognisable from how it is today. To handle so many more tourists will take careful management. New areas in the country will benefit, infrastructure and sprawl in the key tourist areas will continually improve and it must also draw further investment into this sector.
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