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The China Bounce – are the Chinese packing their bags ready to come back to Thailand?

Bill Barnett

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The China Bounce – are the Chinese packing their bags ready to come back to Thailand? | The Thaiger
PHOTO: iamexpat.de
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by Bill Barnett of c9hotelworks.com

The results of a comprehensive new survey of consumers in Mainland China’s first tier cities concludes that 53% of respondents would like to travel internationally sometime this year. Citing the opportunity, the most popular months for trips abroad for the remainder of the year are, specifically, August, October and December.

Thailand is one of the most impacted travel markets by Covid-19 in Asia. The country hosted 39.8 million international visitors last year with China accounting for nearly 11 million of those arrivals. The expanded Thai tourism, hotel and travel sector contributes between 12-15% of GDP to Southeast Asia’s second largest economy.

The newly released China Thailand Travel Sentiment Survey 2020, conducted in mid-April by C9 Hotelworks and Delivering Asia Communications, focuses on key demand factors in the country’s reopening of the tourism economy. A strong positive message from the research is that 71% of Chinese consumers said they would like to visit Thailand.

Using the China survey as a forecasting tool for the hotel industry, an interesting shift in a segment traditionally leveraged in the mass market is that 83% of potential visitors would choose independent travel versus a group tour. This leads into ‘what are the preferred booking channels for Chinese travellers to Thailand’? The top five in order are Ctrip (61%), Fliggy (16%), hotel websites (9%), Booking.com (5%) and WeChat (5%).

Another key insight of the report is breaking down destination preferences within Thailand. Respondents’ most popular holiday locations in order of popularity are Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Koh Samui and Pattaya. Over 75% of demand was pinpointed in the top three destinations.

Anticipating the road to tourism recovery we expect Thailand’s reopening trajectory to initially be dominated by the domestic storyline but move quickly into inter-regional travel punctuated by the outbound China sector who are ready and willing to visit the country as demonstrated by the survey results.

Taking a forward-looking view of the impact of Covid-19 and dynamics at play for the remainder of the year, airlift is a critical enable of the travel sector as you can’t stay there if you can’t get there. A quick indicator of airline activity on Flightradar24 clearly reflects how China’s considerable regional and low-cost airline sector has gotten back into the air.

While undoubtedly there will be a lingering global fear factor for travellers in the wake of the virus outbreak, Thailand’s favourable door to door flying time and vast network of approved routes to the Mainland is a good start. Another is the appreciation of the Chinese Yuan against the Thai Baht. After reaching lows in Q3 and Q4 of last year, driven done by an economic slowdown and trade war, the currency has continued on an upward rise in 2020, which equates to greater value for Chinese tourists when they get to Thailand.

Rounding out the survey results, the demographics of travellers from China are changing.

“The new China traveller is younger, more independent and more digitally influenced than ever. Covid-19 has had a profound impact on travel consumer mindsets and this generation has a burning desire to experience the world and new digital strategies are needed to reach them.”

To download the China Thailand Travel Sentiment Survey, click HERE.

The China Bounce - are the Chinese packing their bags ready to come back to Thailand? | News by The ThaigerThe China Bounce - are the Chinese packing their bags ready to come back to Thailand? | News by The Thaiger

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Bill Barnett has over 30 years of experience in the Asian hospitality and property markets. He is considered to be a leading authority on real estate trends across Asia, and has sat at almost every seat around the hospitality and real estate table. Bill promotes industry insight through regular conference speaking engagements and is continually gathering market intelligence. Over the past few years he has released four books on Asian property topics.

Air Pollution

59 areas see excessive PM 2.5 dust in Bangkok today

The Thaiger

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59 areas see excessive PM 2.5 dust in Bangkok today | The Thaiger

59 areas in Bangkok are seeing excessive PM 2.5 dust ratings today as air quality is being described as moderate to poor. Din Daeng Road is being identified as the most polluted, according to the air4thai website of the Pollution Control Department. The amount of PM 2.5 dust is being measured at between 39 and 113 microns.

Din Daeng is also joining Bang Na-Trat highway in Bang Na district, Lat Phrao district and Sukhapibaan 5 Road in Sai Mai district in featuring PM10 dust in the atmosphere that is measuring between 54 and 155 microns.

Read more about Bangkok’s pollution today, and its causes, HERE.

The 59 areas that are considered polluted today are:

Hirunrujee sub-district, Thon Buri district

Kanchanapisek Road in Bang Khun Thian district

Bang Na sub-district

Song Khanong sub-district in Phra Pradaeng district

Din Daeng sub-district, Din Daeng district

Talat Kwan sub-district in Muang district of Nonthaburi

Omnoi sub-district in Krathumban district of Samut Sakhon

Paknam sub-district in Muang district of Samut Prakan

Bang Sao Thong sub-district

Khlong 1 sub-district in Khlong Luang district of Pathum Thani

Rama 4 Road in Pathumwan district

Intharapitak Road in Thon Buri district

Lat Phrao Road in Wang Thong Lang district

Din Daeng Road in Din Daeng district

Khlong Goom sub-district

Khlong Sam Wa district

Chom Thong district

Charunsanitwong Road in Bang Phlad district

Rama 2 Road in Bang Khun Thian district

Vibhavadi Rangsit highway in Din Daeng district

Sukhumvit Road in Phra Khanong district

Ratburana Road in Ratburana district

Rama 5 Road in Dusit district

Trimitr Road at Wongwian Odeon, Samphanthawong district

Rama 6 Road in Phya Thai district

Lat Phrao Road at Soi Lat Phrao 95 in Wang Thong Lang district

Rama 4 Road in front of Sam Yan Mitrtown, Pathumwan district

Narathiwat Road in Bang Rak district

Thung Wat Don sub-district

Rama 3-Charoen Krung Road in Bang Khor Laem district

Sukhumvit Road Soi 63 in Wattana district

Pattanakarn Road in Suan Luang district

Bang Na-Trat highway in Bang Na district

Pahonyothin Road at Kasetsart intersection, Chatuchak district

Don Mueang district

Sukhapibaan 5 Road in Sai Mai district

Nawamin Road in Bang Kapi district

Suan Sayam-Raminthra intersection in Kanna Yao district

Lat Krabang Road in Lat Krabang district

Seehaburanakit Road in Min Buri district

Liab Waree Road in Nong Chok district

Srinakharin Road in Prawet district

Ratchadapisek-Tha Phra Road in Thon Buri district

Charoen Nakhon Road in Khlong San district

Tha Phra intersection, Bangkok Yai district

Soi Nikhom Rodfai Thon Buri in Bangkok Noi district

Buddha Monthon 1 Road in Taling Chan district

Thawee Wattana Road in Thawee Wattana district

Aekkachai Road in Bang Bon district

Pracha-uthit Road in Thung Khru district

Samsen Road in Phra Nakhon district

Huay Khwang district

Khlong Toey sub-district

Ban Sue sub-district

Lat Phrao district

Thung Song Hong sub-district

Pahonyothin Road in Bang Khen district

Saphan Soong district

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Economy

BTS skytrain maximum fare rate increasing to 158 baht despite backlash

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BTS skytrain maximum fare rate increasing to 158 baht despite backlash | The Thaiger

Bangkok’s BTS skytrain maximum fare rate is being raised to 158 baht despite receiving backlash over the hike. The Transport Ministry is behind the calls for City Hall to stop the increase as it says it is too expensive for the average commuter who takes the BTS 2 times a day. Saksayam Chidchob, the Transport Minister, says other routes should be explored before increasing the costs for commuters.

“The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration should halt its policy on new BTS maximum fare and wait for other authorities to find proper solutions.”

The BMA and Transport Ministry were jointly appointed to set the fare’s ceiling in 2018, but it appears the BMA is now taking control of the new price hike. The BMA and Interior Ministry were previously responsible for granting concessions for the skytrain’s operation but the Transport Ministry is also part of the reviewing committee for extending the concessions and overall investments in the country’s mass transit system.

But deals are being made by the BMA that appear to ignore the Transport Ministry’s equal role in making decisions and the ministry says such actions are breaching co-investment laws. It isn’t the first time the BMA has made decisions without the Transport Ministry’s joint approval.

Before the new hike in fares, it previously extended concessions to the current Bangkok Mass Transit System in order to keep the fare ceiling at 65 baht. Now, making a new deal that would see passengers paying more than double in total fares across the skytrain system is being seen as pushing the envelope.

What is not clear is why the fares are being hiked when the country is suffering economically due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Even though the new maximum is set to rollout on February 16, Bangkok’s governor has offered to bring the new maximum down to 104 for a short period of time in consideration of the recent Covid outbreak.

But even increasing the fare to 104 baht is being widely opposed. The secretary-general of the Association for the Protection of the Thai Constitution says even the discounted rate is too expensive for daily commuters. And, the date for the discount ending has not been announced.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Air Pollution

Bangkok’s air quality is ‘unhealthy’ today | VIDEO

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Bangkok’s air quality is ‘unhealthy’ today | VIDEO | The Thaiger

Air quality around Bangkok this morning is awful. Partly due to the lack of wind to blow the smog out of the area. To the south of Bangkok, Samut Prakan and Samut Sakhon, the air quality is even worse with visibility on the ground cut to less than a kilometre. You would be well advised to reduce you activities outside on a day of high air pollution in the capital. The rating by airvisual.com is ‘unhealthy’.

Bangkok's air quality is 'unhealthy' today | VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

Readings around the inner city vary between 190 – 220. Areas to the east, including around Suvarnabhumi Airport, are higher.

A lot of the smog and smoke is flowing down from the north and north east where plantation fires rage, mostly unenforced, this time of the year, from December to May. Farmers have been told, repeatedly, to avoid buying off the waste after harvests of corn, rice and sugar cane but officials have been disinclined to enforce the laws. Many of the farmers have long-term contracts with some of Thailand’s leading agri-business conglomerates.

Bangkok and the central region can expect many more months, especially as the temperatures rise throughout February, March and April and the winds remain low as the north-easterly monsoon weakens.

Bangkok's air quality is 'unhealthy' today | VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: View across the Bangkok skyline from Sathorn this morning.

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