Thailand: China travel rebounds


BANGKOK, 16 May 2017: Kasikorn Research Centre estimates Chinese tourist arrivals to Thailand will rebound in the second half of this year resulting in a full-year’s growth of 5% to 7.5% 

The bank’s think-tank unit said Thailand’s Chinese tourist market is making adjustments following last year’s ban on zero-dollar tours.

During the first four months of this year, the number of Chinese tourist arrivals to Thailand shrank 7.4% year-on-year to 3.19 million, but that was still better than the contraction of 20.7% year-on-year reported for the last quarter of 2016 when 1.44 million Chinese tourists visited the country, it said.

“However, it is expected numbers will gradually increase over the remainder of the year, thanks to external factors.”

The centre cited: “Over the short term, this inbound tourism market will be supported by the resumption of marketing efforts by Chinese tour operators in Thailand, while problems between China and South Korea that have undermined Chinese tourist arrivals will continue to see tourists go elsewhere.”

The research centre estimates that the number of Chinese holiday makers in Thailand will rise perhaps 5% to 7.5% to 9.2 to 9.4 million visitors by this year end, versus the 10.3% growth recorded for 2016.

“The increase should become apparent during the second half of this year, which is the high season for Chinese tourists during their school and National Day holidays (in October). That uplift percentage growth would be larger due to a low growth rate during the last quarter of 2016,” it said.

However, there are several challenges including heightened global competition in tourism and changing travel behaviour among Chinese tourists.

Thailand’s receipts from Chinese tourists should reach THB470 to THB480 billion in 2017, which would be 7% to 9.4% higher year-on-year, versus the 15.2% growth reported for 2016, it added.

The bank think-tank unit conducted a survey of 400 Chinese travellers asking them if they agreed with the crackdown and also to identify travel trends. The survey was undertaken, 1 to 15 January, at Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports, the country main gateway.

According to the survey, Chinese tourists visiting Thailand showed that 83.4% of them agree with the country efforts to eliminate “zero dollar” tours, citing that it will improve tour quality.

In addition, 98% of the respondents considered Thailand to be their top holiday destination in Asia, and 65.5% said that they will visit Thailand again on their own rather than with package tours.

Kasikorn Research Centre is a subsidiary company of Kasikorn Bank, which conducts tourism and business research mainly on Thailand’s economy including tourism with reliable recommendations and indicators on business prospects.


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