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Economic downturn in China = fewer holiday bookings for Phuket

Flickr/Dawn in Phuket, Thailand

The downturn in the Chinese economy is having a knock-on effect on Thailand’s tourism outlook, according to a Bangkok Post report. In particular, tourism operators say forward bookings for October’s Golden Week holiday are down.

Chinese travellers have been both the national and Phuket leader in tourist arrivals over the past few months, overtaking Russian arrivals since those number have started to dwindle.

The vice-president of the Tourism Council of Thailand says travel agents have confirmed bookings are slower than usual for the China National Day, one of the biggest holidays in the Chinese calendar.

Surawat Akaraworamat adds that the downturn can be attributed to slow economic recovery in China, coupled with the Chinese government introducing measures to stimulate domestic tourism. He says the visa application process is unlikely to be a contributing factor, as the Thai government has already implemented improvement measures.

Meanwhile, the Thai Hotels Association says Phuket hotels are seeing a steady increase in bookings for Golden Week, but they have yet to match the levels seen pre-pandemic. Prachoom Tantiprasertsuk, chairperson for marketing at the THA, says this is due to insufficient flights and slow economic recovery.

However, she says Phuket can still look forward to a successful high season, thanks to the Europeans and Russians. Prachoom says that from October, there’s a noticeable increase in bookings from these markets, a month earlier than usual. She believes this will help the hotel occupancy rate in Phuket and make up for the slump in Chinese bookings.

She points out that the Chinese tourists who are still coming have higher spending power, in particular young couples and families with high-paying jobs. These categories of tourists have not been as badly affected by China’s economic downturn and they tend to spend more in hotels and stay for longer.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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