The first direct tour group flights from mainland China to Thailand marked a milestone in the recovery of the Thai tourism industry. One flight landed at Don Mueang International Airport yesterday morning with 40 Chinese tour group members and 90 other travellers. The second landed in the afternoon in Phuket. In total, 13 flights with tour groups from China landed in Thailand yesterday.
The Chinese government recently allowed group tour companies to provide full-package tours to 20 countries, which is expected to rapidly increase Chinese tourism to Thailand.
The flight to Phuket, operated by Spring Airlines, arrived at 3.15pm, carrying 172 passengers. Those Chinese tour group members were greeted with fanfare by the General Manager of Phuket airport and representatives from Spring Airlines and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Phuket Office.
Meanwhile, the first flight to Bangkok was met with flower garlands and souvenirs by Yang Xin, Charge d’Affaires acting as Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Thailand and TAT governor Yuttasak Supasorn.
The return of the Chinese tourist market is considered a positive sign for the Thai economy and is expected to significantly contribute to its recovery. On the first day of the tour companies’ operations, a total of 13 flights from cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Xiamen, Nanking, and Nanning, arrived in Thailand, landing at Don Mueang Airport, Suvarnabhumi Airport, and Phuket International Airport.
The tourists on group tours are following a six-day travel program, travelling to Bangkok, Pattaya, and Rayong. They are visiting major attractions such as Koh Samet, Nong Nooch Tropical Garden, and the Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha.
From January 1 to February 2, 99,429 Chinese tourists travelled to Thailand. The TAT Governor drew a rosy picture for Thai tourism with the return of Chinese tour groups.
“The return of near-term markets like the Chinese tourist market is considered a positive sign and has significant implications for the overall recovery of the Thai economy. With 2,000 flights from cities such as Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Chengdu, Xiamen, Kunming, etc, altogether offering 445,655 seats on flights to Thailand, the TAT expects there will be an estimated 300,000 tourists from China entering Thailand in the first quarter of this year.
“The Chinese tourists who initially entered Thailand consisted mainly of business people, students and the new generation of tourists who preferred to travel on their own [FIT], reflecting a good sign that more will continue to travel to Thailand throughout the year. This will help push the number of Chinese tourists to reach 5 million according to the target in 2023, including the opportunity to increase to 7-8 million from the factor of the trend of booking air tickets. The frequency of flights also continues to increase, and Thailand is still the most popular destination in the hearts of Chinese tourists.”
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