In a recent development, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has adjusted its forecast for inbound Chinese tourists, projecting a total of 4 million visitors for the year 2023. This revision comes after an influx of 2,765,906 Chinese tourists from January to October, making China the second-highest contributor after Malaysia.
The Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) President, Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn, predicts that the final count for Chinese tourists this year may fall slightly short of the revised TAT estimate, settling at around 3.5 million. Despite a surge in arrivals during the Chinese National Day holiday in October, daily numbers averaged between 8,000-9,000 tourists, signaling a slower pace than initially anticipated.
Sisdivachr emphasized the importance of government support to fortify tour companies selling package tours, as Chinese tourists tend to prefer individual travel over group tours. He suggested that encouraging “series tours” and building confidence in tour companies would be essential for a robust recovery.
To stimulate tourism, the Thai government has implemented a free-visa policy, granting exemptions to travelers from China, Kazakhstan, Russia, India, and Taiwan. These measures are expected to have a more significant impact in 2024, as the high season begins in the remaining two months of this year and the early months of the next.
In the past week alone (October 23 – October 29), Thailand welcomed 505,672 foreign visitors, with Malaysia leading the pack at 75,079 visitors. China followed closely with 58,923, while India, Russia, and South Korea contributed 32,555, 27,870, and 27,305 visitors, respectively. The total revenue from foreign tourists during this period reached an impressive 927.55 billion baht.
As the high season kicks in, the ATTA stresses the need for increased flights to accommodate the surge in demand, especially from Indian travelers. Effective marketing and public relations efforts by both domestic and foreign tour operators will play a crucial role in the gradual recovery of Thailand’s tourism industry in the coming months.
Stay tuned for further updates as Thailand navigates the evolving landscape of international tourism and strives to bounce back from the challenges posed by the ongoing global situation.