TAT to boost safety measures
published : 23 May 2023 at 05:35
newspaper section: Business
writer: Molpasorn Shoowong
With the number of Chinese visitors hitting 1 million, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and Tourist Police Bureau have committed to strengthening safety measures for travellers.
Tanes Petsuwan, TAT deputy governor for Asia and the South Pacific, said the TAT still has work to do to reach the target of 5 million Chinese tourists this year, with about 70% expected to be independent tourists with high purchasing power who are unfazed by deflation in China.
However, challenges remain in terms of a limited quota of 84,000 visa applications per month for Chinese tourists until the end of September, which largely has an impact on big tour groups.
Mr Tanes said the Consular Affairs Department would issue visas to tourists within 15 days and would adjust the capacity so as to receive more applications in the next fiscal year starting in October.
The TAT is still hoping to attract more Chinese tourists between June and September as there is demand during the school holidays, said Chuwit Sirivejkul, TAT regional director of marketing for East Asia.
Meanwhile, other positive signs have come from a rising number of flights between Thailand and China, which is set to rebound to over 70% of the level recorded in 2019, said Mr Tanes.
"China will remain the crucial source market for Thailand, which set a target for overall tourists at 25 million this year," he said.
Mr Chuwit said the deflation risk in China would not affect outbound Chinese tourists, as most of them have high purchasing power.
On Monday, TAT invited 60 Chinese influencers to participate in a press conference aimed at ensuring tourist safety, after concerns were raised online about this issue.
Those influencers will also join trips to survey new tourism routes, destinations and activities, such as products for adventure tourism and activities for all generations.
Mr Tanes said the rumours pertaining to a lack of safety for tourists were limited to Chinese social media and had not appeared in the mainstream media.
Thailand's Tourist Police also pledged to heighten their efforts to accommodate foreign tourists, said Mr Tanes.
Sukhun Prommayon, commissioner of the Tourist Police Bureau, said his force had increased manpower at all major tourist attractions and airports, alongside policemen adopting body cameras which could send information to its command centre and help with Chinese language translation.
The Tourist Police's "I Lert U" application is also available in Chinese, along with the 24-hour 1155 hotline.
As of May 21, Chinese tourists tallied over 1 million, ranking among the top five markets, with a total of 9.7 million visitors so far.