As the country's largest earner of foreign exchange, tourism is given every encouragement by the Royal Thai Government, including full support to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)
in order to carry out its mission and objectives.
In 1998, the country welcomed 7.7 million overseas visitors, an increase of 7.5% over 1997. During the year, Japan was
Thailand's largest market for arrivals, followed by Malaysia and China. The average length of stay for all tourists was around eight days. In another promotion of the Thai tourist industry,
Thai citizens are themselves being encouraged to take more trips within the country and discover the excitement of Thailand.
Thailand's outstanding tourism performance is due to several factors, including the economic stability of its main markets,
the increased number of flights to Thailand, the opening of the new airport terminal in Bangkok, bigger financial support from the government and greater cooperation from the private sector.
An important factor in the recent increase of tourist arrivals resulted from the 50th Anniversary (Golden Jubilee) Celebrations of
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej 's Accession to the Throne, which was held from January 1995 to December 1996 and featured many special events. The promotion of Amazing Thailand
Years, 1998-1999, gave a further boost and established the country as a major tourist destination in Asia.