TOURIST numbers in Thailand have been multiplying rapidly, and proof is in Bangkok beating out London last year to take the title of World’s Most Visited City.
Despite the positive revenues for Thailand, signs point towards a strain on infrastructure, particularly in major airports such as Suvarnabhumi Airport and Don Mueang International Airport.
According to a Bloomberg report, state-run airports are feeling the pressure as passenger capacity expands in Bangkok “by about the size of South Korea’s population”.
To offload the weight, Airports of Thailand PCL has plans to spend US$5.5 billion over the next 15 years to introduce airport reforms. Bangkok Post reported 10 regional airports and 26 city airports will see improvements in the future.
The report said forecast arrivals at Suvarnabhumi were expected to double from 45 million tourists while Don Mueang could handle some 40 million passengers, up from a current 30 million.
Because of the load at Thai airports, tourists are predicted to fly directly to neighboring countries such as Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam because of consistently lower rates, good air access, and improved water and land infrastructure.
Bangkok Post reported that the Mekong region is becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to Bangkok especially for visitors from India, Malaysia, China, and the Middle East.
Europeans are also penetrating the region, with a growing market in France, Germany, and Switzerland.