The chargé d’affaires at the Royal Thai Embassy in Beijing says he’s confident the temporary visa exemption for Chinese tourists will pay off given time. Benjamin Sukanjanajtee is anxious to restore Chinese travellers’ trust in Thailand.
Negative local PR, a spate of highly publicised shootings in Bangkok, and one particular movie, have all helped reduce the number of Chinese arrivals since the middle of the year. In October shooting in a Bangkok shopping mall, in which a Chinese tourist died.
Around the same time, the movie No More Bets was released, recounting the story of Chinese nationals being trafficked overseas, to a country many have assumed is Thailand.
According to Sukanjanajtee, the Thai embassy in Beijing is working closely with local Chinese influencers and Thai students in China to promote Thailand’s good points. He says the embassy is also in touch with tour agencies to market the kingdom to Chinese travellers.
“We also use short video clips on Thailand tourism, food and culture and have festivals and events to help promote Thailand’s positive side.”
The envoy says he doesn’t believe the visa exemption will simply allow more Chinese criminals into the country, as some critics have said. Sukanjanajtee says with officials working together to combat cross-border crime, this is an unlikely risk.
He believes Thailand will eventually reap rewards from the visa-free entry policy, but points out that it may take some time.
“However, we need to understand that we have just gone through the Covid-19 pandemic. China has economic problems caused by the pandemic as well. When people have less money, they decide to travel in their own country or neighbouring countries. According to surveys we conducted, Thailand is still the first tourist destination for them. So, the visa exemption policy may take some time to succeed but it will help to promote our tourism in the long run.”
SOURCE: Bangkok Post