TAT eyes 1m Chinese visitors in October

TAT eyes 1m Chinese visitors in October

Tourists arrive in groups at Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok. More than 800,000 Chinese tourists arrived from January to April 2023. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)
Tourists arrive in groups at Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok. More than 800,000 Chinese tourists arrived from January to April 2023. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) hopes the Chinese market can surge to 1 million arrivals per month in October, as occurred in 2019, thanks to increasing flight capacity and an influx of demand during high season, with e-visa issues resolved by that time.

Chuwit Sirivejkul, TAT regional director of marketing for East Asia, said the agency is confident that Chinese tourist growth is on track to surpass 5 million arrivals this year, generating 446 billion baht.

Flight slots between Thailand and China total 6 million available seats from April to October, an average of 600,000 to 900,000 seats per month. An estimated 840,260 seats are available in October.

Roughly 10,000 Chinese people are visiting Thailand each day, peaking at 18,000 to 20,000 per day during the Labour Day holiday earlier this month.

Airports of Thailand plans to increase ground handling services for two existing providers, Thai Airways International and Bangkok Flight Services, which should help facilitate growing demand, said Mr Chuwit.

He said Thailand should expect a huge number of Chinese tourists in the second half, especially family trips between June to August during school holidays, followed by incentive business groups in September.

China's National Day, a seven-day holiday in October, should also accelerate travel demand through the end of the year, with more chartered flights, said Mr Chuwit.

Regarding the limited capacity for visa applications for Chinese tour groups, he said TAT will discuss the matter with the Foreign Affairs Ministry next week. The e-visa application system for Chinese tour groups allows 84,000 applications per month.

Following negative comments about safety in Thailand circulating on Chinese social media last month, Mr Chuwit said it resulted in a slowdown in secondary Thai tourist cities. The impact is short-term should not affect overall growth this year, he said.

At the end of May, Mr Chuwit said the TAT plans to invite Chinese influencers to Thailand to increase their confidence in tourism safety, via a press conference co-hosted by the Royal Thai Police.

He said despite promising growth, challenges include a lack of Chinese-speaking staff and financial tech development to cater to Chinese spending behaviour. Of the 8.5 million foreign tourists from January to April, Chinese tourists tallied 843,920.

TAT recently launched an ad campaign titled "Unboxing Thailand" targeting Chinese millennials, tallying 2 million views since April.

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