“Up to 90% of Chinese arrivals in Thailand at present are independent travellers, with the tour group market accounting for just 10%.”
Tourism officials in Thailand remain optimistic that the kingdom will welcome 5 million Chinese tourists this year. The Tourism Authority of Thailand has set a target of 5.3 million visitors from China, generating revenue of 446 billion baht. This is a downgrade from their own predictions earlier this year of a robust return of Chinese tourists into Thailand.
However, according to a Nation Thailand report, there are a number of challenges that must first be overcome if this target is to be met. One of the most significant is that Thailand is competing with several other destinations trying to woo Chinese tourists.
A further complication is the ongoing recovery in the global aviation industry. There are still not enough flights to Thailand to meet demand, meaning some Chinese travellers have opted to visit other countries instead. But the airlines say they will cater for the demand but, at this time, the demand simply isn’t there.
The president of the Association of Thai Travel Agents, Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn, says Thailand must focus on the third quarter of the year to attract Chinese tourists as that period (July – September) is the summer holiday period in China.
However, he says he’s not convinced Thailand will welcome 2 million visitors from China even then, given that the kingdom only received just over a million Chinese visitors during the first half of this year.
Sisdivachr points out that more Chinese people are now opting for individual travel, which makes selling trips to tour groups more challenging. Up to 90% of Chinese arrivals in Thailand at present are independent travellers, with the tour group market accounting for just 10%.
Despite all this, Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT governor, expects Chinese tourist numbers to increase soon, pointing to improvements being made by immigration officials. Thailand is introducing a visa pre-screening system that will enable officials to speed up the visa approval process for travellers. The system is expected to be implemented next month.
SOURCE: Nation Thailand