Chinese travel to Thailand may resume late next year

FILE PHOTO: Chinese travel to Thailand is not likely to open up until the end of next year according to the ATTA.

Chinese authorities may let their citizens travel to Thailand again in about one year, according to predictions from the Association of Thai Travel Agents. While China has made the elite list of 46 countries allowed to enter Thailand without quarantine in the Test & Go scheme starting November 1, harsh travel restrictions in China will prohibit Chinese tourists, an important demographic that Thai tourism officials had previously gone all in on before the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ATTA president said that over 11 million Chinese tourists visited Thailand before the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2019, accounting for a full 27% of all travellers that year. Their travel was estimated to have generated over 543 billion baht for Thailand’s tourism industry.

But until the authorities in China begin to permit international travel to and from the country, Thailand will be missing that key sector and will need to look towards other countries that can travel more freely to attract tourists. England, Germany, France and Scandinavia in Europe are important nations to woo, as well as the United States and the Middle East.

Notably, 2 major contributors to Thai tourism, Russia and India, did not make the list of 46 approved countries to be allowed quarantine-free entry from November 1. India is recovering from severe waves of Covid-19, and Russia is currently experiencing high infections and low vaccination rates. But Russian travellers will likely not return until all the complexities of travelling to Thailand have been alleviated, and Indian tourists tend to take short 5-day trips that quarantines would render impossible.

A few indicators of China’s stance on opening borders are coming up with the Winter Olympics next year in Beijing and the 2022 Asian Games taking place in Hangzhou. Seeing how China handles allowing people in for these major global events will give a hint as to their stance on reopening for international travel.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.