Thai Hospitality Magnate Optimistic About Thailand’s Tourism Recovery

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Thailand’s tourism industry is on a path to recovery, with improving diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia and the return of Chinese tourists, according to William Heinecke, chairman of Thai hospitality firm Minor International. Heinecke noted that Saudi tourism to Thailand has rebounded, with two daily flights from Saudi Arabia to Thailand. He expressed optimism about the country’s tourism prospects, citing an increase in people from Eastern Europe, Russia, and Ukraine investing in real estate in Thailand.

The improvement in relations between Thailand and Saudi Arabia comes after the “Blue Diamond Affair,” a 30-year-old incident involving the theft of Saudi jewels and the deaths of Saudi diplomats in Thailand. This diplomatic normalization has contributed to a surge in Russian and Ukrainian tourists visiting Thailand, with over 800,000 Russian tourists in the first seven months of this year, compared to just 77,935 in the same period in 2022. Similarly, Ukrainian traveler numbers have increased to 20,507 from January to July this year, up from 7,967 during the same period in 2022.

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