Chinese tourists may not return to Thailand for some time, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) China offices.
Despite the fact that the Thai Government plans to introduce bilateral agreements or “travel bubbles” with selected nations, low purchasing power and the latest outbreak of covid-19 infections in Beijing could hamper the return of Chinese tourism in Thailand.
Director of TAT’s Shanghai office, Lerdchai Wangtrakoondee, explained that while the situation in China is gradually returning to normal, outbound tour operators remain profoundly affected.
There is the additional concern of high unemployment rates across China, reaching 6 percent, or 27 million people, and expected to grow further over the coming weeks.
Mr. Wangtrakoondee issued a warning for those in the Thai tourism industry, hoping for the return of Chinese tourists. He said:
“Spending power is weak, and the cost of travel will be higher because of lower capacity in tourism services, such in fewer flight seats, so Thai tourism operators should be aware the market will be hobbled for some time.”
Another factor to consider is the stiff competition from other nations to attract Chinese tourists. For example, the Maldives has announced it will lift all travel restrictions in July.
Singapore has also taken the first step by allowing Chinese business travelers into the country since early June.
The Deputy Executive Director of East Asia for TAT, Santi Sawangcharoen, echoed the warning and explained international flight restrictions from China would remain until October.
The country has adopted a policy where each country is served by only one airline from one Chinese city to a foreign city. The flights are also capped at one per week per destination.
The TAT has predicted two possible scenarios for the return of Chinese tourists to Thailand.
The first, and best-case scenario, is the return of tourists from China during the so-called “Golden Week” or national holiday in October.
The second, worst-case scenario, is waiting until the Chinese New Year, which will fall in February next year.
Regardless of when Chinese tourists return to Thailand, the TAT has predicted that citizens will neglect tour groups and travel more privately.
It seems highly unlikely that Thailand will see large tour groups following tour leader flags for a long time.
Source: Bangkok Post