The Tourism and Sports Ministry will highlight Thailand’s potential as an aviation hub in Asean in a bid to draw more visitors and revenue as global tourism continues to grow.

Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said the global tourism growth rate of 4-5% a year, based on a United Nations World Tourism Organisation report, would certainly benefit Thailand.

She said the ministry would use the opportunity to enhance Thailand’s tourism competitiveness in every aspects.

The recent debut of flights by VietJet Air between Ho Chi Minh City to Chiang Mai, and route expansion by AirAsia have a boon to Thailand’s tourism industry, she added.

She hopes Thailand will become an aviation hub as it attracts more airlines that will help to drive the Asean Connect strategy by The Tourism Authority of Thailand.

Mrs Kobkarn projects tourism revenue in the last quarter this year will reach 610 billion baht, up 1.28% year on year. Of the total, about 390 billion baht will come from international tourist arrivals and the rest from domestic tourists.

She believes that international tourist arrivals in the last quarter this year will contribute to successfully reaching the revenue projection.

Foreign tourist arrivals in the third quarter period stood at 8.2 million, up by 13.1% year-on-year, generating revenue of 410 billion baht, up by 14.8%. Domestic tourism in the third quarter generated 216 billion baht, up 7.7% year-on-year.

The ministry projects total tourism revenue this year will reach 2.4 trillion baht as targeted, given the satisfactory growth in the first nine months. Next year’s target is 2.8 trillion baht.