Taiwanese tourism in Thailand set to hit one million mark

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

The Taiwanese tourism market in Thailand is projected to reach a milestone of one million visitors this year, provided that Thailand’s government prolongs its visa-free scheme until the end of the year.

Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn, president of the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA), stated that despite the delayed visa exemption approval for Taiwanese tourists in November last year, the total Taiwanese tourist arrivals in Thailand reached an impressive 724,000, close to the 2019 record of 781,000 arrivals.

Sisdivachr emphasised the Taiwanese market’s robustness, largely unaffected by the economic downturn that has hit other Northeast Asian markets. The visa exemption has further facilitated this growth, encouraging more frequent travel to Thailand.

As per Taiwan’s Directorate General of Budget, the country’s annual GDP growth between 2016-2023 averaged 3.17%, surpassing the global average during the same period. The president of ATTA also highlighted a shift in travel trends, from large tour groups to smaller, private groups who favour 4-5 star hotels and seek local experiences.

Sisdivachr added that he can see Taiwanese demand shifting to other second-tier provinces or destinations, such as Kanchanaburi, Koh Chang in Trat and Koh Samet in Rayong, with the length of stay from 5-8 days.”

To boost the Taiwanese market to one million, ATTA organised a roadshow in Taipei where 72 Thai sellers, including hotels, tour agents and attractions, connected with 300 local buyers in Taiwan, reported Bangkok Post.

Yeh Chu-lan, chairwoman of the Taiwan Visitors Association, sees further potential for expanding the tourism markets between the two countries, facilitated by the reciprocal visa exemption, which has been in place since August 2016. Presently, 155 flights per week connect the two countries, with most passengers originating from Taiwan.

In 2023, Taiwan had anticipated 260,000 Thai visitors, a figure that was significantly surpassed with about 340,000 Thai tourists visiting by the end of the year.

Adith Chairattananon, honorary secretary-general of ATTA, mentioned that Taiwanese visitors spend approximately 5,000 baht (US$141) daily, with an average total expenditure exceeding 40,000 baht (US$1,131) per trip. He noted that in terms of spending, the Taiwanese market is on par with mainland China, demonstrating that Taiwanese tourists still possess substantial purchasing power for international travel.

In related news, Thailand lifted visa requirements for Indian and Taiwanese tourists until May 2024, following a similar move for Chinese tourists in September. The tourism sector aimed to boost arrivals.

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Alex Morgan

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