Thailand’s Prime Minister recently thanked the tourists from the People’s Republic of China for choosing Thailand as a holiday destination and for making up the largest numbers of visitors to the kingdom over the last few years.
Indeed, almost one tourist out of three entering Thailand is now coming from mainland China, and the country should attract more than 10 million Chinese visitors by the end of 2016.
Mr Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said, “The Chinese market has totally transformed tourism in Thailand with around 5.8 million visitors having already visited Thailand between January and July of 2016.
China is Thailand’s leading source market and its fastest growing. In 2015, Thailand attracted 7.9 million Chinese visitors, generating over 376 billion Baht in revenue, up respectively 71 percent and 87 percent over 2014.
This year, from January to July, Chinese visitors to Thailand totalled 5,764,839, or a year-on-year increase of 20.54 percent.
TAT is projecting to welcome about 10.5 million Chinese visitors with a projected expenditure of 509 billion Baht for the entire 2016.
According to Mr Yuthasak, in the first nine months of 2016, Thailand’s tourism industry is expected to generate a total of 1.88 trillion Baht (US$53.7 billion) for the Thai economy, representing a year-on-year increase of 14 percent.
Of the total, some 1.25 trillion Baht (US$35.7 billion, up 17 per cent) has been raised by 24.94 million inbound tourists (up 13 per cent) and another 629 billion Baht (US$18 billion, up 6 percent) has come from domestic tourism with 111 million trips having been taken by locals (up 4 per cent on last year).
Other contributing factors to the growth prospects for the October to December period, 2016 include the fact that Thailand is entering the high season with forward bookings for air travels to Thailand already showing an 8 per cent increase.
There are also new air links that have been established, including those from Russia (Moscow, Vladivostok and Yekaterinburg), the Middle East (Tehran, Dubai and Doha), and Asia (Hong Kong, Mandalay, Luang Prabang and Vientiane). In addition, in the days either side of the National Day of the People’s Republic of China or Golden Week, as it is known, from 1 to 9 October, a total of 39 chartered flights with 7,594 seats have confirmed services to Bangkok and Phuket from nine cities in China.