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Chinese Tourists in Thailand surged to a record 1.2 million in February

Tourism is the gift that keeps on giving in Thailand, thanks especially to China

Visitors from the world’s most-populous nation surged to a record 1.2 million in February, swelled by the Lunar New Year holiday period

Visitors from the world’s most-populous nation surged to a record 1.2 million in February, swelled by the Lunar New Year holiday period, Tourism Ministry data released in Bangkok showed

The kingdom expects 38 million tourists overall this year, more than 10 million from China.

China’s outbound travel market raked up 130 million trips in 2017, a 7% increase on 122 million trips recorded in 2016.

Thailand and Japan continue to be the two hottest outbound destinations for Chinese travelers according to Ctrip(Nasdaq: CTRP), the largest online travel agent in Asia and the second largest in the world.

But with more flight connections, better exchange rates and fewer visa restrictions, destinations such as Morocco, Turkey and Tunisia are seeing a huge growth in visitors from China.

Ctrip released the “2017 China Outbound Tourism Travel Report” alongside China Tourism Academy (CTA), a specialized institute under China National Tourism Administration (CNTA).

The number of outbound trips has reached 130 million in 2017, up 7.0% from 122 million in 2016. An estimated 115.29 billion USD was spent during 2017, a year-on-year increase of 5%.

Such a large number of inbound tourists puts significant strain air and road infrastructure and can lead to substantial waste issues

Thailand is spending billions to upgrade its infrastructure, open up new islands and cities to travelers, and tone down its image of cheap shopping, hotels and sex that underpinned the industry for half a century.

But the change will take years and even then may fail to keep up with soaring visitor numbers that have given the Land of Smiles a reputation for delays, overcrowding and government crackdowns.

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