Thailand eager to take tourist overspill from Laos-China railway

Thailand believes it will take advantage of the spillover from the Laos-China high-speed railway once the mainland fully opens its borders next year.

The Association of Thai Travel Agents (Atta) reckons about 3 million Chinese travelers will take advantage of the almost 423 kilometres electrified railway that runs between the Lao capital of Vientiane and Boten town in northern Laos bordering China.

The 422.4 kilometres long railway opened on December 2 last year. It forms a section of the Kunming–Singapore railway project which connects Kunming, the capital of China’s Yunnan province, with Singapore, through Laos, Thailand, and Malaysia.

Thailand eager to take tourist overspill from Laos-China railway | News by Thaiger

Adith Chairattananon, honorary secretary-general of Atta, said…

“Laos may not have the capability to support a large scale of tourists, in terms of facilities or accommodation. Thailand must take this opportunity to serve the overflow coming across the land border.”

Adith reported that about a million Chinese tourists entered Laos before the Covid-19 pandemic in 2019, with 80% of those travelers arriving via air travel.

“It is estimated the number could reach 4-5 million next year, mostly by land through the Laos-China railway connecting Kunming and Vientiane, assuming China’s borders are fully reopened by that time.”

Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn, president of Atta, urged caution among travel agents in Thailand. He says the kingdom should not bank on the return of Chinese tourists this year adding next year is more realistic.

“After China’s Two Sessions meeting finishes in March next year we will have a clearer picture of domestic and international affairs. Two Sessions is the most important annual political gathering between the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.”

Sisdivachr said that it is not all doom and gloom regarding travelers from the mainland, adding a trickle of Chinese tourists have returned to Thailand.

“Despite border closures, Thailand still has Chinese travelers who reside in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Laos and Cambodia visiting the country.”

Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), announced at the Atta monthly meeting yesterday, that the agency will use its fiscal 2023 budget to promote the inbound tourist market.

He said TAT was allocated a budget of 937 million baht, up by 88.7% from 2022, adding that the number of roadshows and trade shows this year could match the tally in 2019.

It has been reported that as of October 25 foreign arrivals in Thailand hit 7.3 million.

World News

Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.

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