Thailand expects a big jump in tourists from China
Thailand has revised its forecast upward for the number of inbound Chinese tourists in 2023, following a strong recovery in China's tourism market.
Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of Thailand's Tourism Authority, said the figure has been raised by 2 million from the previous estimate of between 5 and 6 million. Thailand is now expecting between 7 and 8 million Chinese visitors.
He made the remarks in Shanghai on Monday at the "Amazing Thailand, Amazing New Chapters Roadshow to China 2023."
As of February 2, Thailand had received 99,429 Chinese visitors this year, compared with 286,511 for the entire period last year.
Supasorn said that the Thai government has devised policies such as high-quality service standards and public health measures to boost travelers' confidence.
"There were more visitors than we had expected," said Nonglux Yooyendee, director of Thailand's Shanghai Office of Tourism Authority. "More and more are on the way."
"After three years, everyone in Thailand misses Chinese people," she told Shanghai Daily.
"The new trend is that Chinese tourists are traveling in smaller groups in search of a quality travel experience," she said.
Outbound tourism authorities have increased campaigns in China following the resumption of outbound group tours for Chinese citizens on a trial basis on February 6. The tours were suspended for three years due to the COVID pandemic.
Group tours to Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Laos, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, Russia, Switzerland, Hungary, New Zealand, Fiji, Cuba and Argentina can now be organized by travel agencies and online tour operators.
The roadshow brought together representatives from more than 62 Thai hotels, duty-free shops, resorts, tourist attractions, travel agencies, and airlines to conduct business negotiations with more than 200 Chinese partners.
According to the Shanghai Administration of Culture and Tourism, Shanghai had 20 outbound tour groups within a week of February 6, with 15 groups travelling to Thailand.
"China and Thailand are important tourist destinations and source markets for each other," said Jin Lei, the administration's deputy director.
In 2019, 11 million Chinese tourists visited Thailand, accounting for 20 percent of the total.
According to Jin, 1.5 million tourists from Shanghai visited Thailand that year, with group tourists organized by Shanghai's travel agencies numbering around 759,000.
China and Thailand have a strong friendship, and it is expected that both countries will have frequent travel exchanges in the future, according to Jin.
"We hope that more Chinese tourists will choose Thailand as their top holiday destination, and we will also invite more Thai tourists to visit Shanghai and experience its distinct cultural glamor," Jin said.
Thailand's Tourism Authority said that it is looking into making tours more varied and is planning to start new tours with themes like luxury, health, parent-child care and care for older people. It is also working to make it easier for Chinese tourists to visit Thailand by making procedures easier.