To get the seven-day party started off right, Phuket’s new governor, Chamroen Tipayapongtada (story here) and Airport Director Monrudee Gettuphan welcomed to the island 260 mainland Chinese visitors arriving on direct flights from Guiyang and Shenzhen.
The lucky tourists were given Phuket souvenirs, pearl bracelets and earrings.
“We want to give all Chinese tourists a warm welcome, as they are our largest in-bound market,” Ms Monrudee said. “We believe the ‘Golden Week’ event will impress them and encourage them to return to Phuket again.”
Chinese arrival numbers in Phuket alone have increased 11 per cent since last year. Thailand is now on pace to welcome about 12 million Chinese tourists to the Kingdom in 2015.
The high-end free independent traveler (FIT) segment of the market was the focus of the most recent American Chamber of Commerce event (story here).
The key to accessing this segment of the market, which is roughly estimated as being only 7-10 per cent of the total number of Chinese arrivals, is the savvy use of Key Opinion Leaders (KOL) and Chinese-based social media applications, David Johnson of Delivering Asia Communications said during the meeting.
“Outbound Chinese travelers are more likely to consider a product they see referred to in social media. They are in general skeptical of information from news sources and advertising,” noted Mr Johnson in direct reference to a Hurun Report.
This makes it essential for companies wanting to access the high-end FIT Chinese market to understand how to use the ‘new’ social media platforms effectively, Mr Johnson noted.
“The welcoming committee yesterday without a doubt provided some excellent opportunities for the Chinese tourists to take pictures and share their experiences with those back home,” noted Ms Monrudee.
— Kritsada Mueanhawong
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