Happy New Year: Thailand welcomes 2023 with high hope for tourism recovery
A day after fireworks lighted up the sky of Bangkok as Thailand celebrated the arrival of the New Year 2023 with high hope for tourism recovery.
Countdown events held in downtown Bangkok, gathering local and foreign tourists before a dazzling fireworks display over the Chao Phraya river which flows through the Thai capital.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand said it was hosting and supporting such events to conclude the year 2022, which saw the return of foreign tourists together with domestic tourism recovery after the relaxation of pandemic preventive measures, Xinhua news agency reported.
The agency also hosted a countdown event in Songkhla province to promote tourism in the country's southern region.
Tourism, a major engine of growth for the economy of Thailand before Covid-19, has been hit hard by the pandemic.
The Thai government significantly loosened the restrictions for foreign visitors in the middle of 2022 before further dropping requirements for international travellers to show proof of vaccination or test results upon arrival starting October, marking the complete reopening to international tourism.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand expects total arrivals of foreign visitors for 2022 to reach 11.5 million.
Thai Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said recently that tourism would be the main driver for the country to achieve a 3.8 per cent growth in 2023 after an expansion of 3.1 to 3.2 per cent in 2022.