MORE CHINESE tourists will be visiting Thailand this year as Chinese travel agencies offer more perks and incentives to their compatriots who want to visit Bangkok and other popular tourist destinations in the country, according to a senior Thai tourism o
Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) East Asia director Sisuda Vanapinyosak told Xinhua that 12,700 Chinese visited Thailand earlier this month and many more Chinese guests will be coming to Thailand with the new perks given by tourist operators in China.
Last year, an estimated 50,000 Chinese had travelled to Thailand under an incentive tourism programme provided by business operators such as direct-sales firms in China.
Those who took advantage of the incentives given by Chinese tour operators were believed to have spent no less than US$18 million (Bt602 million) during their stay in Bangkok and Pattaya earlier this month, Sisuda said.
According to Sisuda, the Ministry of Sports and Tourism, the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau and the TAT have hosted dinners to welcome Chinese visitors in Pattaya.
“The number of Chinese visitors under the incentive tourism programme, which began several years back, is expected to double or even triple because of the increasing number of China’s middle class and wealthier families,” Sisuda said.
She said that in addition to the capital and other world-renowned beach resorts destinations like Phuket, many Chinese visited Chiang Mai.
The average Chinese visitor who has come to the Kingdom on incentive tours stays for a week and spends about Bt5,000 per day, the TAT director said.
Most Chinese tourists visit historical sites and shopping malls in the capital and travel to beach resorts and night-time entertainment spots in Pattaya, Sisuda said.
“Though most of the Chinese visitors to Thailand at present have not taken advantage of tourism incentives, the number of those who will opt to try the offers will very likely increase by the year,” she said.
As many as 6 million Chinese are expected to visit Thailand this year, compared to 4.6 million last year, according to the TAT director.
Chinese visitors account for 20 per cent of all foreign travellers to the country, which totalled 24.6 million last year.
After a brief lull during the early days of the military rule in Thailand, the country’s tourism industry is now on the upswing and Thailand remains as the top destination for foreign tourists in Southeast Asia.