Chinese tourist arrivals in Thailand drop further

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Chinese Tourist Arrivals In Thailand Drop Further

Despite hopes of a reversal of a negative trend in Chinese tourist arrivals to Thailand, the number dropped further in April this year.

According to the Thai sports and tourism ministry, the number of visitors from China, Thailand’s biggest source market for tourists, dropped 8.89 per cent in April from a year earlier. This comes after the number fell 1.7 per cent in March and 12.3 per cent in February .

If the trend continues, Thailand could miss out on substantial proceeds from tourism. Thailand is still the most popular choice for many Chinese travelers. In 2018, around 10.5 million visited the country, by far the most of all visiting nationalities.

Spending by Chinese holiday makers in Thailand was $15.34 billion last year, which is more than any other nation. The average spending per day for a Chinese tourist in Thailand is $192 – which is 53 per cent more than the average European’s $125 daily expenditure. This translates into more than a fourth of a total of $65 billion in foreign tourism revenue being spent by Chinese.

So it comes as no surprise that Thai tourism officials are rattled as Chinese visitors are the top source of foreign receipts in an industry that makes up about a fifth of the economy.

The reason for the drop in Chinese visitors is complex. On the one hand, the Chinese economy is slowing down and leaves less spending power for overseas trips for some, namely with the current strength of the baht. On the other hand, there have been some unflattering incidents for Thailand which held off more Chinese from traveling to Thailand.

The trigger for the drop was a tour boat accident off Phuket in July last year that killed dozens of Chinese holidaymakers and sparked substantial safety concerns. Thailand’s image in China has also been hurt by a dengue outbreak, and, among others, a viral video of an airport guard apparently punching a Chinese tourist.

The number of charter flights organized by Chinese tour operators to popular destinations in Thailand dropped as a result in the recent months. For example, the Tourism Council of Thailand noted that there used to be seven to 12 charter flights per day from China to Krabi, but as of October last year the frequency was down to three flights per day with some having just two to three people on board.

In addition, there is growing competition from other Asian rivals which are partly cheaper and not as overrun as Thailand, namely Vietnam and Cambodia.

“Thailand has to act quickly to restore the confidence of Chinese travelers,” said Vichit Prakobkosol, president of the Association of Thai Travel Agents.

“Otherwise, we could lose Chinese visitors to other countries,” said Vichit, “so we need to fix this soon and recover.”

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Despite hopes of a reversal of a negative trend in Chinese tourist arrivals to Thailand, the number dropped further in April this year. According to the Thai sports and tourism ministry, the number of visitors from China, Thailand’s biggest source market for tourists, dropped 8.89 per cent in April from a year earlier. This comes after the number fell 1.7 per cent in March and 12.3 per cent in February . If the trend continues, Thailand could miss out on substantial proceeds from tourism. Thailand is still the most popular choice for many Chinese travelers. In 2018, around 10.5 million...

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Chinese Tourist Arrivals In Thailand Drop Further

Despite hopes of a reversal of a negative trend in Chinese tourist arrivals to Thailand, the number dropped further in April this year.

According to the Thai sports and tourism ministry, the number of visitors from China, Thailand’s biggest source market for tourists, dropped 8.89 per cent in April from a year earlier. This comes after the number fell 1.7 per cent in March and 12.3 per cent in February .

If the trend continues, Thailand could miss out on substantial proceeds from tourism. Thailand is still the most popular choice for many Chinese travelers. In 2018, around 10.5 million visited the country, by far the most of all visiting nationalities.

Spending by Chinese holiday makers in Thailand was $15.34 billion last year, which is more than any other nation. The average spending per day for a Chinese tourist in Thailand is $192 – which is 53 per cent more than the average European’s $125 daily expenditure. This translates into more than a fourth of a total of $65 billion in foreign tourism revenue being spent by Chinese.

So it comes as no surprise that Thai tourism officials are rattled as Chinese visitors are the top source of foreign receipts in an industry that makes up about a fifth of the economy.

The reason for the drop in Chinese visitors is complex. On the one hand, the Chinese economy is slowing down and leaves less spending power for overseas trips for some, namely with the current strength of the baht. On the other hand, there have been some unflattering incidents for Thailand which held off more Chinese from traveling to Thailand.

The trigger for the drop was a tour boat accident off Phuket in July last year that killed dozens of Chinese holidaymakers and sparked substantial safety concerns. Thailand’s image in China has also been hurt by a dengue outbreak, and, among others, a viral video of an airport guard apparently punching a Chinese tourist.

The number of charter flights organized by Chinese tour operators to popular destinations in Thailand dropped as a result in the recent months. For example, the Tourism Council of Thailand noted that there used to be seven to 12 charter flights per day from China to Krabi, but as of October last year the frequency was down to three flights per day with some having just two to three people on board.

In addition, there is growing competition from other Asian rivals which are partly cheaper and not as overrun as Thailand, namely Vietnam and Cambodia.

“Thailand has to act quickly to restore the confidence of Chinese travelers,” said Vichit Prakobkosol, president of the Association of Thai Travel Agents.

“Otherwise, we could lose Chinese visitors to other countries,” said Vichit, “so we need to fix this soon and recover.”

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