Arrivals set to soar amid holidays in East Asia
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Arrivals set to soar amid holidays in East Asia

Chinese and Japanese tourists are expected to flock to Thailand during the Labour Day holiday and Japan's Golden Week, driving arrivals to 996,000, up 29% from the corresponding period last year, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

During the holiday period that runs from April 26 to May 5, Thailand is projected to welcome 89,000 foreign arrivals per day -- 10% higher than the average -- mainly attributed to public holidays in several countries, said Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, deputy governor for international marketing in Asia and South Pacific at TAT.

He said tourism income should reach 32.3 billion baht, representing 35% growth year-on-year.

With five to seven days of public holidays taking place in China and Japan during this period, the two markets will help a great deal to stimulate tourism expenditure, said Mr Chattan.

Roughly 230,000 Chinese travellers are expected to travel during this period, which would be an increase of 75% year-on-year. Spending by Chinese tourists is forecast to reach 9.1 billion baht, up 144% year-on-year.

Chinese tourists will begin their trips 1-5 days prior to the Labour Day holiday that takes place during May 1-5, he said.

Japanese tourists will start travelling on April 26, ahead of the Golden Week holiday that takes place between April 29 and May 5, said Mr Chattan.

Around 41,000 Japanese tourists would visit Thailand during this period, up 30% from the corresponding period last year. Revenue is projected to soar 76% to 1.39 billion baht.

Mr Chattan said the permanent visa-free scheme between Thailand and China and overall resumption of flights will help boost the market.

Many airlines would increase their flights during the period that includes these holidays to cater to growing demand. Spring Airlines will increase its flights from Shanghai and Shantou to Bangkok, China Southern Airlines will increase its flights from Guangzhou to Bangkok and Phuket, and Xiamen Airlines will increase its flights from Xiamen to Bangkok.

Japanese tourists ranked Bangkok as their third most preferred destination during the Golden Week holiday period behind Seoul and Taipei, according to online travel platform Expedia.

JTB, the largest travel agency in Japan, has forecast that there will be 520,000 outbound travellers from Japan during the Golden Week holiday, up 68% from the corresponding period last year. The most popular destination is South Korea, followed by Southeast Asia, according to JTB.

Mr Chattan said TAT's overseas offices in Japan and China launched promotional campaigns with partner organisations at the beginning of this year to boost the market during the holiday period.

These include joint promotions with AirAsia targeting Japanese travellers, and taking tourism operators from Phuket, Chiang Mai and Pattaya on a road show to major Chinese cities, such as Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Kunming, he added.

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