Tourism revenues grew over 10 percent in January

Tourism revenues hit 189 billion baht in the first month of 2018 as over 3.54 million international tourists visited the country in January, an increase of 10.8% compared to January 2017. Of those 2.14 million were from East Asia, more than 900,000 from Europe and 811,000 from the United States, South Asia, Oceania, Middle East, and Africa. Tourist arrivals grew 10.87 percent year on year and South Asia showed the biggest increase, jumping 20.65 percent year on year. Domestic tourism also grew, generating 956.75 billion baht, an 8.38 percent increase over the previous year. For the entire year in 2017, tourism generated 2.78 trillion baht, up 10.51 percent from 2016.

A recent study by Google and Temasek shows that Thailand’s digital economy is predicted to 1.17 trillion baht or US$37 billion by 2025 with e-commerce sites and ride hailing constituting the major portion. The study forecasts Thailand’s digital economy reaching US$10 billion in 2017 as e-commerce and ride hailing both doubled their sizes from 2015. Thailand's e-commerce value is projected reach US$11 billion in 2025, up 12 times from the level in 2015 of US$900 million, that number hit US$1.8 billion last year. Google predicts Thailand will have 20 million online shoppers by 2025. Online media and online travel are both predicted to continue their growth rates, reaching US$1.5 billion and US$5.5 billion respectively in 2025. By 2020 Thailand will have 59 million internet users, up from 38 million in 2015. Thailand recently came out as spending the most time on mobile internet in the world.

Thailand’s exports showed the fastest growth rate in five years as the country’s key markets showed higher purchase demand and the world trade recovery continued. Customs-cleared exports grew 17.6 percent year-on-year in January to US$20.1 billion, the highest increase since November 2012 driven in large part by cars and auto parts, computers and components, rubber products, plastic pellets, chemicals, finished oil, electrical circuitry, machinery and parts, steel and steel products. The latest Thai Industries Sentiment index showed a three-year high after several months of continuous growth, due in large part to infrastructure projects, increasing consumer confidence, and a rising global economy.

The National Economic and Social Development Board reported that 2017’s economy grew by 3.9 percent following a sustained rise in the GDP in the 4th quarter due to a rise in consumption and private sector investment. Agricultural sales grew by 6.2 percent a huge jump compared to 2016 which saw the in the red while exports reached a 6 year high, growing by 9.7 percent. The board predicts the GDP will grow between 3.6 4.6 percent.

Work Permit

Any foreigner working in Thailand must obtain a Work Permit before beginning work. While a prospective employer may file an application on the foreigner’s behalf in advance of his starting work, the actual Work Permit will not be issued until the foreigner has entered Thailand in accordance with the immigration laws and has presented himself to receive his Work Permit.

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