According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand governor, Yuthasak Supasorn, airfares for flights connecting China and Thailand have remained high despite a decrease in average airfares from last year.
For March and April, the prices to and from every Chinese city are still higher than pre-pandemic levels. The fares for key cities in China, such as Shanghai, Chengdu and Guangzhou, have increased 1.5 times, ranging from 14,000 to 24,500 baht. Meanwhile, ticket prices for secondary cities have surged 200% due to the reopening of direct flights only this year.
Despite the high travel costs, Chinese travelers are still visiting Thailand, with the number of seats from eastern China totaling 17,308 per week in February. Shanghai, in particular, secured the largest capacity of 10,000 seats with more than ten airlines operating flights to Phuket, Bangkok and Chiang Mai.
Moreover, Chinese travellers’ spending habits have shifted, with per-person spending increasing as a result of expensive travel costs, prompting them to consider longer stays of 5-10 days. They now prefer travelling with a small group of family or friends and seeking new experiences as FIT (free and independent travellers) rather than travelling with a tour group.
The average spending per trip, according to Dragon Trail research, has increased to 60,000-150,000 baht from the pre-pandemic average of 50,000 baht.
The TAT believes that Chinese travel preferences will continue to shift towards individual trips or bespoke tours put together by travel agents. These individuals and small family tour groups are expected to dominate Chinese travellers’ travel patterns in Thailand this year.