Thailand is a country that was hit hard by the global coronavirus pandemic. Tourism, one of the leading industries in the country, was put on hold. However, in 2022, the authorities have stabilised the economic situation in the country, attracting millions of tourists to the kingdom and increasing revenues. Real estate in Thailand, purchased in 2022 by foreign nationals, played a role in increasing the state's income.
Tourism and hotel business
It was particularly important for Thailand to restart tourist activity in the country. The lifting of restrictions for visitors and the intensive work of tour operators have yielded results. At the end of December 2022, Thailand celebrated the arrival of the 10 millionth tourist in a year: the passengers of the Saudi Airlines plane were pleasantly surprised when they were greeted at the airport with an orchestra, drums and dancers. However, the Thais were also happy. Of course, this cannot be compared with the 40 million tourists in the pre-pandemic 2019, but a good start to return Thailand’s status as a tourist paradise has been made. According to the official forecasts, over 20 million tourists are expected next year, returning 2024to the country’s previous attendance figures.
The revival of tourism can be explained by the world record set in September this year at the Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok Hotel (Bangkok, Thailand). The hotel bartender, with the help of the staff, poured dozens of bottles of gin, vermouth, and Campari liqueur into a chilled acrylic container. This resulted in 630 litres of the popular cocktail "Negroni, which exceeds the previous record by over 100 litres. A specialist from the Guinness Book of Records fixed a new record, adding that according to the company's rules, the hotel will have to bottle the cocktail.
The rise of the tourism industry has breathed life into the restaurant business. In 2022, the number of Japanese restaurants increased by over 20% compared to the previous year. According to the Japanese foreign trade organisation JETRO, this is the largest rise in this indicator since at least 2007. In total, there are over 5,300 Japanese restaurants in Thailand, a 1,000 more than a year ago. There are almost 500 establishments specialising in sushi and rolls. Approx. 260 restaurants offer Japanese cuisine, and less than 200 serve ramen – traditional Japanese noodles in broth with various fillers. Of course, the desire of the Japanese to support the spread of their cuisine played a big role here. E.g., JETRO sponsored the delivery of Japanese beef, pork, and seafood to restaurants in Bangkok and other cities in Thailand. However, the overall rise of 90% in the restaurant industry, compared to the pre-pandemic level, suggests that the demand for ready-made food has sharply increased. This also reflects in the rebound of tourism and in Thailand’s economy in 2022.
Real estate in Thailand
The return of tourists and the growth of business have dramatically changed the real estate market in the country. Unlike in 2020-2021, when housing sales were low, 2022 and especially its third quarter showed vastly different results. According to leading real estate agencies, twice as many people decided to buy houses in Thailand in 2022 as in 2021. Demand was especially high in autumn. The main activity was in the low-rise building segment. Townhouses and villas in Thailand have become the most sought-after type of housing. These types of residential properties were most popular before the pandemic. Apartments in Thailand are still lagging behind in the growth of demand for houses.
Records in the housing market in the kingdom include a villa for sale in the famous resort area of Patong. In this case, the location and quality of interior and exterior finishes affect the cost significantly more than the main parameters, i.e., the area or number of rooms. Indeed, 2 bedrooms, 2 living rooms and 2 bathrooms in a 129 m2 villa rarely costs $55 million. This is a record price for this type of housing. What is the reason for this price? The seller explains that this is due to the design and decor of the Paul Raff studio, known for its luxury real estate projects around the world, and also the exclusive location of the villa. The mansion is located on one of the last vacant lots on the west coast of the kingdom. The villa has a fantastic sea view and is in the heart of the super popular area of Patong. So, the price is well justified as this housing is unique.
Another record in the real estate market of the kingdom is the sale of the entire tropical island of Rang Yai, located in a popular tourist destination, near the Phuket and Coconut Island. From the mainland, its reachable in 10 mins by boat. The purest white sand, turquoise ocean water, a pearl factory and 44 hectares of private land cost $145 million. An electric generator and a source of fresh water are included. You could say that it is inexpensive, given the resurgent popularity of Thailand as a tourist destination. The island is popular with fans of self-guided excursions on a rented boat, so the new owner can choose whether to create a private atmosphere on the island and ban tourism or continue to receive visitors wanting to sunbathe on a secluded beach and get the price of a pearl necklace.