The number of Chinese visitors might not reach the government's target of 5 million this year as arrivals in the first four months were lower than expected.
Tourists claimed visa applications were inconvenient, according to the Association of Thai Travel Agents (Atta).
Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn, president of Atta, said the tourism industry needs to wait for the second half of the year to gain a clearer outlook after Chinese arrivals were sluggish over the first four months.
As of April 18, the number of Chinese visitors tallied around 695,000, only 14% of the target, which means the country still needs 4.3 million tourists over the next eight months.
The start of the year was promising, mainly driven by pent-up demand from the Chinese market during the Lunar New Year festival in January, which this year took place just two weeks after Beijing announced the lifting of travel restrictions on Jan 7.
The number of Chinese arrivals in the first two months tallied 247,497 before gradually picking up to 269,745 in March as more flights were added.
Mr Sisdivachr said apart from insufficient seat capacity and rising travel costs, tourists who want to come to Thailand also face obstacles with visa applications.
He said Atta received a number of reports from tourists about the inconvenient visa process, which prompted most of them to opt for visas on arrival instead, while some tourists changed their plans and decided not to visit the country.
"Given visa obstacles and gradual flight resumption, it might be difficult to achieve 5 million Chinese visitors this year unless we have a dramatic surge in the second half," said Mr Sisdivachr.
Thailand recorded almost 6.5 million foreign arrivals in the first quarter this year, still a wide margin from the 10.7 million posted in the same period of 2019.
Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, said the agency discussed the visa complaints with the private sector, but the sides did not reach a resolution.
He said the difficulties with visa procedures were related to a limit for e-visa applications of 80,000 per month.