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Thailand’s tourism sector is one of the strongest performers out of nine of the country’s industry sectors covered in a new study released by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

The WTTC Benchmarking Report 2017 compares Travel & Tourism to eight other sectors, which are considered to have similar breadth and global presence, across 27 countries and six regions.

The section on Thailand showed that business and leisure travel directly contributed THB1.3 trillion (USD37 billion) to Thailand’s GDP in 2016, which is higher than all other eight sectors researched in the study.

When the contribution from direct, indirect, and induced income are considered, Thailand’s tourism sector provided THB2.9 trillion (USD83 billion), making it larger than mining, construction, chemicals manufacturing, financial services, agriculture, and banking.

Thailand’s travel & tourism GDP is expected to grow at an annual average of 6.7% over the next decade, which is a stellar four percentage points faster than the country’s total economy growth predicted at 2.7% and significantly higher than the forecast for agriculture at 1.1% and mining at 2%.

The sector directly supported 5.7 million jobs in 2016, which is 15% of all jobs in the country.

WTTC, president & CEO, David Scowsill said: “It is not news that Travel & Tourism is one of the strongest performing sectors in Thailand. Providing nearly 21% of the country’s GDP, the business and leisure travel market creates jobs and generates economic wealth.”

However, WTTC takes its figures from government reporting and there is considerable criticism that the calculations on travel spend are far from accurate. Estimates on spending are formulated from exit surveys carried out periodically at gateway airports in Thailand and data supplied on credit card spend.

Scowsill added: “As our sector continues to grow in Thailand, the government focus on sustainability and security is key, as outlined in the National Tourism Development Plan. We commend the Thai government for their resilience and commitment to invest in tourism, as this will ensure that more leisure travellers will come to visit the beautiful country.”

The WTTC Benchmarking Report was sponsored by American Express.

The following sectors have been analysed in comparison to Travel & Tourism. They were selected as having similar a breadth and global presence as Travel & Tourism.

  • Agriculture: includes agriculture, forestry, and fishing
  • Automotive manufacturing: includes motor vehicles and parts & accessories
  • Banking: includes all banking activities and related services
  • Chemicals manufacturing: includes drugs & medicines, manufacture of basic pharmaceutical products and pharmaceutical preparations, plastics, rubber, paint, polishes, ink, perfumes, cosmetics, soap, cleaning materials, fertiliser, pesticides, other chemicals
  • Construction: includes those primarily engaged in the construction of buildings (both residential and non-residential), engineering projects or specialty trade contractors. Construction work done may include new work, additions, alterations, or maintenance and repairs.
  • Financial services: includes all financial related activities including banking, investment services and insurance
  • Mining: includes the extraction of oil, natural gas, coal, metals, and related services
  • Retail (without wholesale): includes all retail trade (i.e. Retail trade, except of motor vehicles & retail codes to motor vehicles and motorcycles)

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