Friday, October 1, 2010

CHINA tourists return to Thailand

Sirima Eamtako, Bangkok (2010-10-01)

THE TOURISM Authority of Thailand (TAT) and the Thai-Chinese Tourism Alliance Association (TCTA) have reported a healthy rebound in arrivals from China after the advisory for the kingdom was lifted in early July.

This follows an exemption of a tourist visa fee for Chinese tourists and a host of stimulus campaigns, including a 60 million baht (US$1.97 million) advertisement series, to restore travellers’ confidence.

Despite the recent Thai political crisis, the country is on track to welcome one million arrivals from China this year and 1.3 million for the next, according to TAT and TCTA.

Sansern Ngaorangsi, TAT deputy governor for international marketing (Asia and South Pacific), said in the first eight months of this year, arrivals from China jumped 54.57 per cent year-on-year to 685,215 visitors, despite a drop in numbers in April, May and June.

The number of flights and air seats from China has also increased by 18 per cent and 17 per cent respectively, over last year.

“Phuket is in demand for the Chinese market,” said TCTA president Vichit Prakobgosol. TCTA data register a 200 per cent increase in charters from China to Phuket in the fourth quarter.

Arrivals from China to the southern Thai island are expected to grow from about 70,000 to 80,000 visitors last year to more than 100,000 this year, and to increase further to about 140,000 to 150,000 next year, said Vichit, who is also chairman of CCT Group, one of the kingdom’s largest inbound Chinese tour operators.

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