Thailand is strengthening its tourism ties with China after the two countries inked a letter of intent in a high-profile meeting.
Chinese Culture and Tourism Minister, Hu Heping, and Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, signed the Letter of Intent between the TAT and China Tourism Group Travel Services.
As 2023 marks 48 years of diplomacy between the two countries, it also marks 17 years of cooperation between their tourism sectors. According to Thailand Business News, the TAT Governor spoke of future opportunities.
“During the meeting, there is also a discussion on an opportunity to collaborate on organising the Moon Festival in Thailand. This would help to further strengthen relationships among the public and private sectors as well as the people of China and Thailand.”
The Mid-Autumn Festival, Moon Festival, or Mooncake Festival will be held on September 29, 2023.
As Thailand has the largest Chinatown in the world, it is one of five countries that holds the largest Chinese New Year celebrations outside of China.
The TAT and China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Chinese Embassy in Thailand already have plans underway for the Chinese New Year.
Meanwhile, Hu Heping highlighted Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to Thailand to attend the 29th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Bangkok. He says the event was important for strengthening the ties between the two nations.
He furthered that the Chinese government recognised the importance of tourism and cultural exchange between the two nations. This has been evident in China’s previous plans to resume outbound tourism after reversing its zero Covid policy.
Thailand was one of 20 pilot countries for China’s outbound tourism testing, which Beijing later hailed its Covid-19 travel reversal as a “miracle.”
As Thailand opened its doors to Chinese tourists, the country saw 161,540 arriving in the kingdom from January 1 to February 15.
That number is only expected to grow to 300,000 in the first three months of 2023. And, a projected total of seven to eight million Chinese tourist arrivals was made for this year.
In 2019, the number of Chinese tourists to Thailand totalled 11 million, but as Thailand has seen a 60% recovery of its pre-pandemic tourism levels, catching up may not be far off.
Overall, Thailand expects to see 26 million international visitors this year bringing 2.4 trillion baht in revenue or 80% of the pre-pandemic level.
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