Thailand ranks as fourth most popular destination among Chinese travellers

Chinese tourists are finally returning to Thailand. International flights out of China have increased 200% this month compared with the same period last month. Out of those flights, Thailand is the fourth most flown-to destination by mainland Chinese tourists, according to the Variflight civil aviation data service.

South Korea came in first place, Japan came in second and the United States came in fourth. After Thailand, France is the fifth most popular destination for Chinese travellers.

The data was published in the Chinese media outlet The Global Times, according to a spokesperson for the Thai Government Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Chinese tourists made up one quarter of Thailand’s foreign arrivals and pumped a lot of money into Thailand’s economy. According to the spokesperson, the recent influx of Chinese tourists is only expected to increase further throughout the year, which will be of great benefit to Thailand’s tourism industry.

International arrivals in Thailand by land, sea, and air hit 1.05 million last month, an 118% increase from a monthly average of 482,719 arrivals per month from January until June. The tourism and aviation sectors are showing good signs of recovery.

Although flights out of China have increased 200% from last month, it’s important to note that Chinese arrivals in Thailand still have nothing on pre-pandemic figures.

Earlier this year when Chinese arrivals were nearly non-existent, the Thai government targeted Indian tourists to offset the lack of Chinese arrivals. In March, Thailand and India were linked through an “air travel bubble” to encourage tourism between the two Asian giants.

Last week, a boat noodle seller in Pattaya said that she had seen some Chinese tourists at the market recently, but usually they came as families, not in organised tour groups which were very popular among Chinese tourists before the pandemic.

The noodle seller said the government should work on bringing back Chinese tourists because they spend more money than Indian and Vietnamese tourists.


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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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