More Chinese tourists?

Chinese tourists visit the Grand Palace. (Photo by Taweechai Tawatpakorn)

Chinese tourist numbers in Thailand are still expected to increase this year despite the slow growth since last August.

According to statistics from the Tourism and Sports Ministry, the total number of Chinese tourists to Thailand dropped between August and November last year, following the tragic boat accident in Phuket in July which resulted in 47 Chinese fatalities. Numbers fell to about 650,000 per month from about 1 million.

Things started to pick up again in December, with more than 830,000 Chinese visitors. Then between January and August this year, more than 7.6 million Chinese tourists visited.

Kasikorn Research Centre (KResearch) forecasts that the total number of Chinese visitors this year will be as high as 11 million, up from 10.5 million last year. The government has a more optimistic target of 11.6-12 million.

KResearch's projection was issued ahead of Chinese golden week, Oct 1-7. About 240,000 visitors from mainland China are expected to visit Thailand during that week, up 18% on last year.

The improved forecasts are down to factors such the free visa on arrival programme, which has been extended until the end of next April, government tourism campaigns and promotions in China. The political unrest in Hong Kong may also be having an impact, with Chinese tourists deciding to travel to Thailand instead.

However, there are several factors that suggest these forecasts might be overly optimistic, such as the slowdown of the Chinese economy, the strong Thai baht versus a weak Chinese yuan and concerns over tourist safety.


- Bangkok Airways will launch its first direct flight from Bangkok to Sihanoukville, Cambodia, on Jan 10.

The service will run daily, with the outbound flight departing Suvarnabhumi International Airport at 11.55am and arriving at Sihanouk International Airport at 1.40pm. The inbound flight will depart at 2.15pm and arrive at 3.55pm.

Travel time will be one hour and 45 minutes. The service will provide an alternative to AirAsia's.


- Thai AirAsia X will increase the number of Bangkok-Sapporo flights from seven a week to 11, starting on Dec 1.

The airline already offers daily flights and will increase the service to two flights per day on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, departing at 2.10am and 8.35am from Don Mueang International Airport. Arrival times in Sapporo will be 10.40am and 5.05pm, respectively. The return flights from Sapporo will depart at 11.55am and 6.20pm, arriving in Bangkok at 6pm and 12.15am, respectively. The flight time is six hours and 30 minutes.



- Cross Hotels and Resorts has signed a hotel management agreement with Halong Bay Hotel Joint Stock Company to launch X2 Vibe Halong Bay in Vietnam.

Set to welcome its first guests in late 2023, the 32-storey property will feature 470 guestrooms, a swimming pool, meeting and function rooms, a restaurant and a fitness centre.

X2 Vibe Halong Bay will be the fourth property of Cross Hotels & Resorts in Vietnam, following the opening of X2 Vibe in Viet Tri, Phu Tho Province, in August last year, and the luxury X2 Hoi An Resort & Residence and Away Hoi An, which are set to open in 2020 and 2021, respectively.


- Baan Talay Dao is offering a discount of 43% when booking a room on its website. Standard net prices for a night's stay start from 6,000 baht for a studio room (28m²) rising to 18,000 baht for a pavilion suite (64m²). However, with the discount, available from now until Oct 19, room rates will reduce to 3,420 baht to 10,260 baht. All prices include breakfast, free Wi-Fi, service charge and taxes.

Located in Hua Hin, the beachfront resort also has a restaurant, a meeting room which can accommodate up to 50 people, an outdoor function space and a swimming pool.


- Tao Garden Health Spa & Resort in Doi Saket district, Chiang Mai, is offering a "Stress Relief" package.

Available until Oct 31, the programme includes a two-night stay in a standard room, three meals a day, one live blood analysis, holistic consultation, four-hand oil massage, five-element oil massage, foot reflexology and an 80-minute Tao oil massage.

Prices are 12,867 baht for shared room and 14,847 baht for a single room. Rates include taxes and service charges, but there is an additional charge of 200 baht a day for air conditioning.


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