Thailand’s tourism to recover to pre-pandemic level in 2024: official hinh anh 1A tourist goes surfing on the sea off Hua Hin Beach in Thailand's Prachuap Khiri Khan province on December 5 (Photo: Xinhua/VNA)

Bangkok (VNA) Thai Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith has predicted that his country will welcome 8 million foreign tourists next year before returning to the pre-pandemic level of 40 million in 2024.

The economy of Thailand contracted 12.1 percent in the second quarter and 6.4 percent in the following three months, with the tourism industry severely affected.

The second largest economy in Southeast Asia is expected to take two years to recover but the tourism sector, which accounts for 12 percent of the GDP, should take until 2024.

The almost 40 million foreign arrivals registered in 2019 generated revenue worth almost 2 trillion THB (66 billion USD).

Thailand has yet to lift a travel ban imposed since April though it has had few outbreaks and removed most restrictions. The country recently started receiving a limited number of tourists on special visas with a quarantine requirement.

Officials have forecast 6.7 million foreign tourist arrivals this year, most of whom visited in Q1 before the ban.

Foreign tourists are forecast to number 8 million next year before rising to 16 million, 32 million and 40 million in 2022, 2023 and 2024, respectively, according to the finance minister./.