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24 Jan 2012


Inbound Chinese Tourists: A Challenge to Thai Tourism in Year of the Dragon (Current Issue. 2276)

Following the US warning of possible terrorist attacks at tourism venues in Bangkok, issued on January 13, 2012, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Thailand during this Chinese New Year may not increase as it should be. After that, several other countries, including China, have issue similar warnings. Although those warnings were later rescinded, such anxiety may have affected the number of Chinese tourists coming to Thailand, particularly those travelling alone, as they might have decided to go elsewhere.
However, KResearch expects that the cancellation of Chinese warning, along with Thai authorities' efforts to ensure security, plus cooperation between the Thai government and private sector toward restoring our image and arranging many activities at tourism attractions across the country, particularly during festivals, such as the Chinese New Year should help increase Chinese tourist arrivals by more than 10 percent during 1Q12, to a total of 530,000 visitors that would likely generate tourism income of around THB16 billion.
If this cooperation between the public and private sectors continues throughout the year, without other threats appearing, it is expected that the number of Chinese visitors may reach our forecast of at least 2 million this year, increasing 11 percent YoY, including the revenues of THB60 billion, rising 20 percent YoY.

In addition, tour service operators should monitor Chinese tourist behaviors/preferences for use as a guideline toward the formulation of more effective marketing plans. Obviously, the proportion of younger generation travelers who are well educated and have high incomes is increasing. Also, this group of tourists tends to seek tourism experiences on their own and ready to spend on the finest services. Although they are sensitive to news reports and unfavorable events, e.g., possible terrorism events, domestic unrest, contagions, natural disasters, etc., their confidence can be restored. In addition, all relevant parties should implement defensive strategies against any unpleasant situations that may arise in the future.