Bid to catch 11/11 travellers
TAT joins China's Singles Day promotion
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and Chinese online travel firms are set to launch 11/11 campaigns and special countdown events to appeal to mainland tourists for the duration of this year.
TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said the authority plans to collaborate with Alibaba and Ctrip, a leading provider of travel services in China, to promote Thailand online and through social media and encouraging Chinese tourists to visit Thailand during November and December.
Under the plan, Fliggy, the online travel platform of Alibaba, will offer special packages and promotions during Chinese Singles Day, also known as the 11/11 or Bachelor Day promotion, on Nov 11.
Many online Chinese companies offer deep discounts on that day, boosting the number of purchases.
The TAT plans to ask Ctrip, the biggest online travel agent in Asia, to encourage individual tourists to come to Thailand, both this quarter and in next year's first quarter.
"Millions of Chinese tourists seek a package to book online, so the collaboration with these two major companies will help Thailand gain tourists," Mr Yuthasak said.
He said the number of Chinese arrivals to Thailand during the recent Golden Week plunged compared with the same period last year, reflecting China's concern about safety and security after the boat accident that killed 47 Chinese tourists in July.
The TAT nonetheless will maintain the target for the China market at 10 million tourists, generating income of 600 billion baht. China represents nearly one-third of total tourist arrivals.
The TAT also plans to promote a New Year's countdown event in Pattaya for Chinese tourists.
Mr Yuthasak said the public and private sectors will announce further tourism stimulus packages for other markets on Oct 18.
Typhoon reroutes trips
Carrie Law, chief executive and director of Juwai.com, the Chinese international real estate website, said on Wednesday that Ctrip ranked Thailand as the top global destination for Chinese tourists during this month's Golden Week holiday.
"We think most people in Thailand have been too negative," Ms Law said. "In reality, Chinese travel industry authorities report that Thailand was the top destination for Chinese tourists this Golden Week. Japan was expected to take the top ranking but lost out due to the large number of cancelled flights and other cancelled arrangements due to the typhoon."
Thailand remained the top destination for Chinese tourists because of many attractions, good links to China, relative affordability and appeal to both group and individual travellers. The most popular destinations in Thailand include Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket and Chiang Mai.
"The Thai government deserves credit for setting up special visa lines at five airports and improving the regulation and oversight of the tourism industry so that another boat accident does not take place," Ms Law said.
A representative of China's Ctrip said Japan and Thailand have always been the top two popular destinations for outbound travel during China's National Day period.
But Thailand beat Japan this year after the recent typhoon caused a large number of airports and scenic spots to close in Japan.
Many group tours and free individual travellers have chosen Thailand for their holidays.
Ctrip's Things to Do showed that Chinese outbound travellers continue to spend money on in-depth local experiences and unique travel activities.
Some 35 categories of tour activities were experienced by Chinese travellers during the October holiday, including skydiving, hot-air balloon rides, scuba-diving, helicopter tours, cooking classes and off-road racing.
After Thailand and Japan, the top destinations for Chinese outbound travellers are Hong Kong, Vietnam and Singapore.
South Korea, Croatia, Mexico, Serbia and Tunisia are the top emerging places, with an average growth rate of more than 50% year-on-year. Ease of acquiring a visa contributed greatly to rising interest in the latter three countries.
Juwai.com reported that Chinese real estate demand in Thailand reached a record level in the third quarter.
Third-quarter data showed that Chinese buyer enquiries for Thai real estate reached a new peak. Inquiries in the third quarter were 29.7% higher than in the prior quarter and 215.4% higher than in the same quarter of 2017.
In part, the strong results are due to an unusual surge of inquiries in August.
"We have never seen Thai buying inquiries so high," Ms Law said. "It reflects strong Chinese demand for Thai property and the excellent Thai developments being offered."