BANGKOK (The Nation/Asia News Network): The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is working hard to attract Chinese tourists after the Asian giant eased travel restrictions for nine of its southern cities.
TAT executive director for East Asia Chuwit Sirivejkul said on Thursday (June 16) that the agency has been creating awareness among Chinese tourists in a bid to attract them to Thailand once their country fully reopens.
He believed China’s move to ease travel restrictions in nine southern cities – Dalian, Beijing, Chengdu, Nanjing, Shanghai, Xiamen, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Fuzhou – would enable Thailand to draw Chinese tourists to the country.
Chuwit said many Chinese businessmen and students were allowed to request visas to travel abroad.
“Hence, TAT’s offices in China have held discussions with the business sector, educational institutions and the chamber of commerce there to draw Chinese tourists to Thailand,” he said.
Even though flight fares from Thailand to China have soared from 2,000 yuan (10,000 baht) to 40,000-60,000 yuan due to China’s policy to limit the number of flights per week, it means Chinese tourists can stay longer in Thailand, Chuwit said.
But he suggested they can fly to Thailand via Cathay Pacific in Hong Kong as the airline currently operates daily flights from there to Thailand priced at 2,000 yuan.
“The number of Chinese tourists to Thailand increased to 20,000 in May from the previous 300 per month,” Chuwit noted.
He said 36,851 Chinese tourists arrived in the kingdom from January to May, more than 70 per cent being businessmen who visited the country for around two months, spending 6,118 baht each per day.
“If China eases travel restrictions further during the Communist Party National Congress in October, at least 500,000 Chinese tourists will visit Thailand this year,” he said hopefully, adding that the number of these visitors to the kingdom is likely to increase even more during Chinese New Year next year.
Chuwit said TAT offices in China aim to draw 4 million tourists to Thailand next year, or 40 per cent of 11 million in 2019.
The agency also aims to attract senior tourists who comprise 32 per cent of total Chinese visitors to Thailand, he added.