TAT expects up to 3.5m Chinese tourists, below target

TAT expects up to 3.5m Chinese tourists, below target

A tourist takes photos at the Ratchaprasong intersection, Bangkok, on Nov 9, 2023. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)
A tourist takes photos at the Ratchaprasong intersection, Bangkok, on Nov 9, 2023. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)

Thailand expects 3.4 million to 3.5 million visitors from China this year, below its target, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said on Friday, despite rolling out a visa-free programme to attract Chinese tourists.

About 3.01 million Chinese tourists have visited the country so far in 2023, it said. China has been a key source market for Thailand's vital tourism industry, with 11 million Chinese visitors in pre-coronavirus-pandemic in 2019, accounting for more than a quarter of all arrivals that year.

"China's slowing economy makes people worry about spending on tourism," Chattan Kunjara na Ayudhya, TAT deputy governor for international marketing in Asia and South Pacific, told a briefing.

A recent mall shooting in Bangkok also affected tourist confidence, he added.

The TAT in June had expected about 4 million to 4.4 million Chinese tourists this year, he said. That was down from the government's initial target of 5 million.

Overall foreign tourist arrivals were at about 23.88 million since the start of the year, Mr Chattan said.

The government is targeting 28 million arrivals versus a pre-pandemic record of nearly 40 million foreign tourist arrivals in 2019 who spent 1.91 trillion baht (US$54.37 billion).

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