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Thai hotels, tour agents focus on Chinese market following 3 year absence

Chinese arrive in Thailand
FILE PHOTO: Chinese visitors arrive in Thailand

The Association of Thai Travel Agents says that despite the global economic slowdown, Chinese tourists’ spending has not been affected, due to pent-up demand following a 3 year hiatus. But the ATTA president Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn says most Chinese visiting Thailand at the moment are certainly independent travellers and the formerly prominent ‘tour groups’ only made up around 10% of the market for the first quarter of 2023.

He points out that Thailand needs all segments of the Chinese market to help the bruised tourism industry recover quickly and is hopeful the number of tour groups will pick up in the third quarter of the year as more flights become available.

Sisdivachr adds that scandals that have made international headlines recently, such as VIP police escorts and the assault on a Chinese tourist in Phuket, have prompted concern among Chinese agents. He is calling on the government to implement urgent measures to address these issues.

Sisdivachr was speaking as ATTA and the Tourism Authority of Thailand launched the first China roadshow in 3 years. According to a Bangkok Post report, around 61 representatives of Thai hotels, airlines, tour agents, and other tourism operators, will travel to the cities of Shanghai, Chengdu, and Guangzhou as part of the roadshow.

The labour shortage is proving a challenge on both sides, with Chinese agents suspending operations until they can hire more staff. Similarly, in Thailand, tour operators are struggling to find Chinese-speaking guides. In addition, the hotel industry continues to face a significant labour shortage, according to Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi from the Thai Hotels Association.

She points out that Thailand being a preferred destination for the Chinese presents the kingdom with a significant advantage. In addition, the Chinese like to seek out new experiences and Marisa suggests introducing secondary cities to the Chinese market, which would also help alleviate congestion in the traditionally more popular locations.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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