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Chinese New Year uptick in BKK arrivals, but mostly domestic

Tim Newton

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More than 450,000 travellers will going through the turnstiles at Bangkok’s main airport Suvarnabhumi between January 26 and February 7, including the annual Chinese New Year celebrations. But they’re not all from overseas, indeed the majority, some 349,000 travellers, are domestic.

The airport’s GM reports that 115,931 international travellers will be travelling through BKK during the 14 day period. That’s a 37% jump in flights when compared to the same time last year. Whilst the uptick of travellers is a welcome shot in the arm for Thailand’s tourist industry, pre-Covid the numbers of international travellers would have averaged 1,523,000 arrivals over any 2 week period in 2019.

Out of the 10 airlines applying for additional landing spots over this year’s Chinese New Year celebrations period, the top 3 are Bangkok Airways with 14 extra flights, Myanmar Airways with 8 and T’Way Airlines another 8. TWay Airline is the third largest South Korean low-cost carrier.

The one market missing in this year’s Chinese New Year arrivals is the Chinese. With current return quarantine requirements in China of between 21 and 58 days, very few Chinese are travelling at this time, although there will be plenty of Chinese domestic travel over the Chinese New Year holiday.

And even the noisy Yowarat Road CNY festivities have again been muted this year with ceremonies, gatherings and festivals cancelled in Bangkok’s Chinatown (but you can bet there will still be a few dragons and fireworks joining in to welcome the Year of the Tiger).

Right in the middle of the annual Chinese New Year travel surge will be the reintroduction of the Test & Go re-entry travel program. With the latest version, being launched on February 1, travellers will be required to take 2 tests, 1 on the first day and then another on Day 5. The latest Test & Go also requires the pre-pre-payment of a Day 1 and Day 5 SHA+ hotel booking.

The challenge for Thailand’s tourism businesses will be to keep the flow of international tourists arriving beyond the Chinese New Year rush, as the year moves into the quieter tourist months.

Without the strong Chinese tourist numbers, and soft global travel sentiment, international arrivals in Thailand are expected to remain similarly quiet for the rest of 2022. But, with local south east Asian tourism competitors starting to reopen, with fewer restrictions, local tourism operators are hoping the CCSA will quickly relax restrictions and quarantine requirements in Thailand over the next few months to remain competitive.

Chinese New Year is on February 1 this year. Happy Year of the Tiger!

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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    Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2011. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for 42 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program (public radio Australia), presented over 11,000 radio news bulletins, 3,950 in Thailand alone, hosted 1050 daily TV news programs and produced 2,100 videos, TV commercials and documentaries. He also reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue and other major stories in Thailand. As founder of The Thaiger in 2016, Tim is the current English Content Manager for the company, based in their Bangkok HQ.

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