Thailand is now anticipating a large number of Chinese tourists visiting the country during the National Day Golden Week holiday in China which runs from October 1-8.
Initial estimate by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports is 260,000 Chinese tourists arriving during the golden week period, and 21 billion baht in earnings.
According to survey by Ctrip, a Chinese provider of travel services including accommodation reservation, transportation ticketing, packaged tours, Thailand will be the Chinese’s top destination during the 8-day golden week. Second popular destination is Japan.
Last year, South Korea is the top destination for Chinese tourists during the golden week.
According to the China Tourism Academy, more than 710 million Chinese tourists will be traveling domestically or abroad during this year’s holiday, up 10% year over year.
Total tourism receipts during Golden Week 2017 are expected to increase by 12.2% year over year and reach ¥590 billion ($89 billion).
According to its September 18 survey, 64.8% of those polled said they will be traveling during the National Day Golden Week and the month of October, up 9.3 percentage points from last year’s figure. Some 16.4% of those surveyed said they will be traveling overseas.
Mid- to long-haul trips appear to be the norm: 49% of Chinese travelers plan to travel for 4–7 days, while 31% plan to travel for 2–3 days and 18% for one week to one month.
According to the Chinese travel services company Ctrip, the top destinations this year are expected to be Thailand, Japan, Singapore, the US and Vietnam.
The most popular destinations during Golden Week 2016 were South Korea, Japan, Russia, Thailand and Taiwan.
Countries in Southeast Asia and Japan will likely be the top beneficiaries of Chinese outbound travel during Golden Week this year, while South Korea will likely end up losing out on some Chinese tourist spending.
10 million Chinese tourists in 2017 ?
The major driver pushing Thai tourism to new highs is China.
The research centre noted that tensions between China and South Korea were favouring tour movements to Thailand as Chinese tourists were reluctant to book holidays in South Korea.
Even concerns over the appreciation of the Thai baht against major currencies such as the Euro and US dollar are not expected to slow tourism to Thailand.
This is probably because the bulk of tourists visiting Thailand are from Asian nations where currencies are also appreciating at a similar pace to the Thai Baht.
China continues to dominate Thailand’s inbound tourist arrivals with August ending up with 3,133,411 visits, up 8.6% year-on-year. August was the fourth month, this year, that saw arrivals exceed 3 million, the second highest after January when visits reached 3,197,053.
Other peak travel months when visits exceeded 3 million were March and July.
The China National Tourism Administration’s Holiday Travel Guide indicates that the Southeast Asia region remains the most popular short-haul travel destination. This is largely attributable to the relative ease with which certain countries in the region grant visas to Chinese passport holders.
In addition, the number of direct flights between Chinese and Southeast Asian cities has grown this year, making it easier for Chinese tourists to reach various destinations in Southeast Asia.
Chinese passport holders benefit from visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 65 countries and regions around the world this year, an increase from 57 countries last year.
Thai permanent secretary for Tourism and Sports Mr Pongpanu Svetarundra said the ministry has forecast that about 260,000 Chinese tourists will visit Thailand during the Golden Week, up 35% from the same period last year, according to NNT.
According to the ministry, the Chinese tourists will likely spend their holidays in Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket, Chiang Mai and Samui Island.
They are expected to generate revenue of over 11 billion baht for the country during China’s national holiday.