More Chinese tourists to visit Thailand under new tourism incentives
Updated: 2015-05-22 17:26
BANGKOK - 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 official.
In an interview on Friday, Director of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) for East Asia Sisuda Vanapinyosak told Xinhua that some 12,700 Chinese have visited Thailand earlier this month and many more Chinese guests will be coming to Thailand with the new perks given by tourist operators in Chinese mainland.
Last year, an estimated 50,000 Chinese had traveled to Thailand under an incentive tourism program 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 $18 million during their stay in Bangkok and Pattaya earlier this month, Sisuda said.
According to Sisuda, the Thai Ministry of Sports & Tourism, the Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau and the TAT have hosted dinners to welcome the Chinese visitors in Pattaya.
"The number of Chinese visitors under the incentive tourism program 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, the Chinese have preferred to visit Chiang Mai in northern Thailand as well as Phuket and Krabi in the southern seaside region.
The average Chinese visitor who has come under incentive tours has stayed for a week and spent about 5,000 baht ($150) per day, the TAT director said.
Most Chinese tourists visit historical sites and shopping malls in the Thai 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 throughout this year, compared to 4.6 million last year, according to the TAT director.
The Chinese visitors accounted for 20 percent of all foreign travelers to this country which totaled 24.6 million last year.
After a brief slackening 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.