According to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports' data, the number of Chinese tourists in Thailand in July 2018 dropped 0.9 percent over-year to a total of 930,000 persons. In contrast, the tourism receipts from the Chinese segment rose 4.5 percent over-year to THB51.38 billion. A slight slowdown is expected for August, but the government has implemented some promotional campaigns, while the hotel and accommodation operators, as well as retail traders, have used intensive marketing tactics to attract more Chinese voyagers during their National Day holiday in early October.
Given the above scenario, KResearch views that the Chinese tourist market will likely pick up, and the number of Chinese holidaymakers in Thailand may reach 10.9 million for the entire year of 2018 (compared to the previous estimation of 10.6 million), equal to growth of 11.2 percent versus the 12.0-percent pace in 2017. For total receipts, they will likely amount to THB602.01 billion, rising 14.8 percent over-year compared to the 15.8-percent increase in 2017.
KBank has compiled Chinese tourists' behaviors as follows:
- Based on a survey of Chinese tourists toward their preferred destinations in Asia, Thailand remains their top destination, with a share of 27.0 percent of the survey respondents. After Thailand, most favorite destinations are Japan (18.8 percent), Maldives (14.5 percent), Hong Kong (14.3 percent) and Singapore (9.6 percent).
- Around 53.0 percent of Chinese tourists travel with tour agencies, while the free independent tourists (FIT) constitute a share of 47.0 percent of the respondents. It has also been found that Chinese coming to Thailand for the first time make up 78.0 percent of the respondents, while the revisiting group represents 22.0 percent. Most of the first-time visitors have learned about Thailand from agencies' recommendations, friends/relatives who had already been here, and from tourism websites such as Mafengwo and TripAdvisor.
- The largest part of expenses goes to goods purchases, then food and healthcare service such as massage and spa.
- The most popular goods for Chinese buyers are cosmetics/skincare creams, followed by food and processed fruits, Thai traditional medicine/herbs, for example, massage balms, apparel and souvenirs.
- Chinese visitors prefer to use cash to pay for their goods and services. However, payments via China's financial applications, especially Alipay and WeChat Pay, are almost as popular as cash. Chinese tourists view that the possibility of pay via such applications has resulted in an increase of their spending by 81.8 percent, given the convenience of not having to exchange money and discounts granted by the merchants.
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