Chinese new year holiday expected to boost Thailand’s tourism revenue

Anticipated to reach a staggering 34.4 billion baht, spending during the Chinese New Year holiday is set to surge, with foreign travellers, primarily from Chinese-speaking nations, contributing 28.4 billion baht. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) attributes this 29% year-on-year revenue growth, which spans from February 8 to 16, to the visa-free policy for Chinese and Taiwanese tourists.

TAT Governor Thapanee Kiatphaibool predicts a 34% rise in foreign visitors, numbering around 995,000, resulting in a 36% increase in revenue to 28.4 billion baht against the same period last year. Chinese arrivals are projected at 177,000, marking a 358% growth from 2023, which was just after the nation reopened its borders amidst restricted seat capacities and high airfares. According to Thapanee, Chinese spending this year is likely to skyrocket by 366% to 6.2 billion baht.

Domestic Thai tourists are also expected to contribute to the economy, with an estimated 2 million trips during the festival, generating 6 billion baht in revenue, marking a growth of 10% and 6% respectively year-on-year.

The Tourism and Sports Ministry anticipates visitors from China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong to spend a combined 11 billion baht during the holiday, a rise of 157%, with 195,825 arrivals in place of the expanding airline seat capacity. Per person expenditure from these markets is projected to increase by 8% to 58,236 baht compared with 2023, a significant 25% increase from 2019, due to individual travellers opting for more expensive hotels.

However, overall receipts from these three markets are expected to be 30% less than the 2019 holiday period, with arrivals from China and Hong Kong being 50% and 22% weaker, respectively.

Based on a survey, only the Taiwanese market is predicted to see an increase in arrivals, at 11%.

Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn, president of the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA), notes a positive sentiment in the Chinese market, with concerns about safety in Thailand not as widely circulated on Chinese social media as in the previous year. He highlighted frequent road and boat accidents in the south, primarily due to severe weather conditions and human error, as potential concerns for Chinese tourists.

Sisdivachr remarked that news about boat accidents that affected tourists could spread rapidly. Sometimes tourists hear about the news before us, as they raise concerns about their upcoming trips.

He mentioned that ATTA had asked the Tourism Department to implement stricter safety measures for tour operators using boats. The department, in response, informed the association that provincial authorities are responsible for this issue and hold the authority to regulate safety services, reported Bangkok Post.

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