The number of Chinese tourist arrivals to Thailand bounced back quickly toward the end of 2018, thanks to a concerted effort by the private and public agencies in helping shore up confidence of Chinese tourists toward Thailand and an exemption of visa-on-arrival fee for citizens of 20 countries, including China. The recovery was clearly seen in December 2018 when their arrivals revered to growth for the first time in five months. We at KResearch expect that the number of Chinese tourists visiting Thailand during the Chinese New Year 2019 will reach approximately 325,000, which would be on a par with last year. The figure represents a positive sign for our Chinese inbound tourism market during the remainder of 2019. According to Ctrip's poll, Chinese tourists still choose Thailand as one of their top holiday destinations during the Chinese New Year 2019.
Looking ahead, KResearch remains cautious toward the inbound Chinese tourism market. We have assessed that steady growth in their arrivals will begin to be seen during 2H19 while growth in 1H19 will likely be inhibited by the high base of 1H18 during which the number of Chinese tourist arrivals reached almost 1 million/month.
Although confidence of Chinese tourists toward Thailand has gradually improved due to cooperation from all parties and Thailand is still their favorite holiday destination, there is a number of factors that may undermine their arrivals to Thailand. These include purchasing power of Chinese holidaymakers, in particular those that are sensitive to domestic economic conditions, intense competition in vying Chinese tourists by other countries and different behavior of Chinese tourists during the digital era.
Given this, KResearch expects that the number of Chinese tourist arrivals to Thailand may reach approximately 10.80-10.99 million in 2019, growing 2.5-4.3 percent YoY. The decelerated growth is due to the base effect of rising number of Chinese tourists. They may spend about THB598-609 billion, increasing 3.0-5.0 percent YoY.
Enter the code from the poll