Govt expects 8 million Chinese tourists this year

Govt expects 8 million Chinese tourists this year

Tourists visit Phra Si Rattana Satsadaram temple, also known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, in Phra Nakhon district, Bangkok. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Tourists visit Phra Si Rattana Satsadaram temple, also known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, in Phra Nakhon district, Bangkok. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

Thailand expects 8 million tourists from China in 2024 after both countries agreed to permanently waive visa requirements for each other's citizens from March, agovernment spokesperson said on Friday.

Chai Wacharonke said the visa waiver will lead to an increase in flights between the two countries, pushing down ticket prices and boosting Chinese arrivals in Thailand.

Thailand's economy in September temporarily dropped visa requirements for Chinese tourists. Last year, it recorded 3.51 million arrivals from China out of a total of 28 million arrivals.

That compared with a pre-coronavirus record of 39 million arrivals, with 11 million from China.

Tourism, a key driver of the economy, generated 1.2 trillion baht (US$34.63 billion) of revenue in 2023, government data showed.

Loosening entry requirements is Thailand's latest push to boost arrivals. The government this week approved a cut in taxes on alcoholic beverages and entertainment venues. It also extended opening hours from 2am to 4am for nightclubs.

Meanwhile, Thai tourism operators see the government's goal of 40 million foreign arrivals as a challenge, considering high travel expenses, sluggish demand in populous markets such as China and Russia, and competition from neighbouring countries. 

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