Thailand looks to Chinese tourists to boost country’s local tourism
Published: Mar 02, 2023 11:20 PM
The Thai tourism industry is steadily recovering as the Southeast Asian country counts on the influx of Chinese tourists in 2023 to be the driving force for the improvement.

According to the latest data released by Thailand's Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Thailand welcomed 91,841 tourists from the Chinese mainland in ­January, a significant increase from 2022's figure of 3,110, due to China's optimization of its ­COVID-19 policy.

The surge in tourist numbers is a positive sign for the Southeast Asian country's tourism industry, which has been severely impacted by the pandemic.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) recently reported that the kingdom recorded 161,540 Chinese tourists from January 1 to February 15, and it seems likely the target of 300,000 for the first quarter will be met.

Authorities have set a more ambitious target of welcoming 7 to 10 million Chinese tourists in 2023, compared to 11 million in 2019.

To achieve this goal, TAT-led roadshows were conducted in major Chinese cities like Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu in late February to enhance business discussions between Thai suppliers and China's tourism professionals.

The campaign also promoted a range of high-quality tourism products and services tailored specifically to the ­Chinese market.

The return of Chinese visitors is considered a boon for Thai businesses that depend on tourism. 

Saii Resorts cluster general manager Bart Callens said they are preparing for the arrival of Chinese tourists by providing Chinese language training, hiring Chinese staff and introducing Chinese menus.

He estimated that with the increase in direct flights from China to southern Thai islands, Chinese tourists will hopefully arrive in scale by the middle of March.