BANGKOK, Thailand – More than four million Chinese tourists will likely visit Thailand for the whole year since a total of 3.2 million have already visited the kingdom in the first eight months of this year, according to Thailand’s Department of Tourism (DoT).
In a report issued last week, the DoT said that from January to August this year, 3.2 million Chinese have already traveled to various tourist destinations in Thailand, including Pattaya, Phuket, Chiang Mai and the capital city.
The current total of Chinese arrivals represents a whopping 88 percent increase from the same period last year.
Tourism Council of Thailand Chairman Piyamarn Techaphaibul said on Wednesday that they expect to welcome more than four million Chinese tourists before the yearend.
Piyamarn said that their forecast is not an exaggeration since during the remaining four months, the number of Chinese visitors to the country would easily reach at least one million.
According to Piyamarn, they expect the Chinese tourists to come to Thailand not just for sight-seeing but also to go on a shopping spree for cheap Thai-made products.
“The government would soon launch what is called ‘shopping paradise’ campaign to attract more Chinese tourists to go shopping during their stay in Thailand. For that reason, transportation and accommodations, ranging from services at Suvarnabhumi International Airport to tour buses, taxicabs, and hotels would be conveniently provided for the Chinese tourists,” Piyamarn said.
She added that Chinese tourists, who are awash with cash because of China’s strong economic performance, would be interested in buying indigenously-made items which the Thai people call OTOP, an acronym for one-tambon (subdistrict)/one-product.
The 3.2 million Chinese tourists who visited Thailand from January to August were among a total of 17.4 million foreigners who traveled to Thailand during that period, which represents a 21. 4 percent rise over the same period last year.
Foreign visitors to Thailand during the eight-month period included 1.9 million Malaysians, one million Russians and one million Japanese, according to the DoT report.
Thailand has projected that it will be able to attract as many as 25 million foreign tourists, mostly from China, throughout this year, compared to about 20 million last year.
Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Surapon Svetasreni earlier said his agency will focus on high-end markets in China and Russia.
To lure more Chinese visitors, the TAT will open this month its new office in China’s Guangzhou City, in addition to those already in place in Chengdu, Shanghai and Beijing. The TAT said it will step up its tourist promotion campaign in these cities.