No announcement yet.

Chinese Visitors and the Thailand Tourism Industry

This is a sticky topic.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Chinese Visitors and the Thailand Tourism Industry

    25% of travellers from China test positive in Taiwan

    Thailand may want to rethink its pandemic prevention strategy for Chinese tourists after news broke this week that more than a quarter of passengers from China landing in Taiwan tested positive for Covid-19. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) in Taiwan reported that over a quarter of the 500 plus travellers who arrived in Taiwan from China returned positive Covid test results, reported focustaiwan.

    Last week the CECC announced last week that travellers from China needed to take a PCR test when arriving in Taiwan from January 1 as Taipei tried to fight the current wave of Covid infections. The guideline was directed at individuals travelling on flights from Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, and Xiamen, which all have direct flights to Taiwan and residents who are arriving in Kinmen and Matsu islands from Xiamen.

    The CECC reported that on the first day of the new testing policy, some 146 out of 524 arrivals from China at Taoyuan International Airport tested positive for Covid. Chuang Jen-hsiang, a spokesperson for the CECC, stated that it is difficult to predict whether the positivity rate for Covid will increase, decrease, or remain stable in the coming weeks. However, he expressed hope that the new policy will discourage individuals travelling from China from boarding a flight if they are experiencing coronavirus symptoms.

    According to the new policy, travellers who test positive for Covid will be required to isolate for five days if they have mild or no symptoms. If they have more severe symptoms, they will need to call the 1922 hotline to arrange for transportation to a hospital.

    Chuang added that the CECC plans to conduct genome sequencing on samples taken from around 20 travellers who arrive from China and test positive each day, to better understand the Covid variants circulating in each of the four cities of travel.

    The new testing policy primarily affects Taiwanese citizens returning to Taiwan and Chinese nationals travelling to Taiwan for business, study, or to visit their families. Chinese tourists are still not allowed to enter Taiwan at this time but the policy is currently scheduled to expire on January 31.2023

    Several countries have rushed to impose restrictions on travellers arriving in their respective countries from China after Beijing announced it will open its borders to international travellers and relax restrictions on Sunday, January 8. 2023 Morocco has banned all travellers from the Chinese mainland until further notice while others are requiring Covid tests 48 hours before travel and testing on arrival. Finally Thailand is taking action....

    Four new measures adopted for all foreign tourists arriving in Thailand

    Thanks to the Chinese travelers market Thailand has adopted four new Covid-19 measures for all foreign tourists arriving in the kingdom. The Public Health Ministry adopted the measures in response to the Chinese government’s decision to ease travel restrictions on their citizens starting January 8.2023 According to Thai PBS World, the new measures include:
    • All visitors must have received at least two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine before their arrival
    • All visitors should take out health insurance coverage, which includes Covid-19, before their departure for Thailand
    • All visitors should wear face masks while travelling on public transport in Thailand and public places and take rapid antigen tests if they get Covid-like symptoms
    • Visitors should postpone their visits to Thailand if they develop a respiratory illness
    The measures were approved yesterday at a joint meeting between the Transport, Public Health, Foreign Affairs and Tourism and Sports ministries, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and the Office of the Insurance Commission.

    Anutin Charnvirakul, the Public Health Minister, chaired the meeting and said that he is confident that Thailand is fully prepared to cope with the mass arrival of Chinese tourists. He assured that all foreign tourists, including the Chinese, will be treated equally, without discrimination.

    Since the Covid variants spreading in China resemble the variants detected in Thailand, Anutin assured that coronavirus won’t be used as a pretext to discriminate against any nationality when visiting the country. He also said that tourists who want to get vaccinated while visiting Thailand can do so, but it will be at their own cost as the government has no policy to provide free vaccinations to tourists.

    Deputy Government Spokesperson, Traisuree Traisoranakul, says that for those foreign tourists who become infected with the coronavirus while in Thailand, they can
    • Call the tourist police at 1155, the Tourism Authority of Thailand at 1672 or tourist assistance centres at 02 134 4077 for help or advice.
    She recommends that tourists who want to continue their travels from Thailand stay at “SHA Plus” hotels, where they can receive screening services that are certified by the Thai Medical Science Department. A re-introduction of Covid measures has been seen worldwide, following China’s decision to open its doors. Beijing has seen hospitals overflowing with Covid patients since it relaxed its zero Covid policywhich was regarded as one of the strictest in the world.​

    Thailand prepares measures to prevent influx of Covid-19 cases from China

    AsChina prepares to open the floodgates on Sunday, Thai government officials are discussing measures to prevent Covid-19 outbreaks from the upcoming influx of Chinese tourists, given the prevalence of the virus in the People’s Republic of China at present. The virus spread rapidly in China after Beijing dropped three-year-long stringent Covid measures last month. Then, Beijing dropped mandatory quarantine on arrival and announced the reopening of the borders on Sunday, January 8, spurring budding Chinese travellers to book trips abroad.

    Measures to protect Thailand from imported coronavirus cases from China will be finalised in a meeting tomorrow between officials from the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, and the Ministry of Transport, said Public Health Minister, Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul. Thailand expects five million Chinese tourists to arrive in the kingdom this year which will be vital to Thailand’s post-pandemic economic recovery.

    “We expect some 300,000 Chinese tourists to come in the first quarter of this year,”
    said Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand Yuthasak Supasorn. Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said yesterday that Thailand will not implement a lockdown or “strict regulations” in response to the easing of travel restrictions in China.

    The ministry said that there is no need to test Chinese arrivals for the virus. China requires anyone travelling out of the country to obtain a negative RT-PCR test result prior within 48 hours of their departure. At the meeting tomorrow, government officials are expected to discuss vaccine requirements for Chinese tourists. According to Komchadluek, vaccine documents will be checked and the ministry will propose that Chinese tourists should have received at least four doses of the Covid vaccination. Measures are subject to change in relation to Covid-19 caseload data and developments in China, added the ministry.

    Anutin stressed that the ministry cannot guarantee any resurgence of the virus when Chinese tourists return, so Thai people should continue taking measures to protect themselves e.g., by getting vaccinated, social distancing and wearing masks. The health minister praised Thailand for its ability to handle the virus…

    “Thailand is able to effectively control the spread of the virus, illness, and deaths better than other countries. Thailand’s healthcare system is not inferior to anyone else’s, and when compared to other countries with higher infection and death rates, we are holding up well.”

    Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha assured Thai people not to panic about the return of Chinese tourists, “because Thailand’s preventative measures and healthcare system are top-notch.” Meanwhile, the US, India, Japan, South Korea and some European countries announced tougher Covid-19 measures specific to Chinese arrivals amid fears of outbreaks and new variants.​

  • #2
    Chiang Mai issues booster shots to get ready for Chinese Tourists

    Chiang Mai is preparing to welcome Chinese tourists by giving booster shots to its workers in the tourism industry. The province intends to issue 3,000 doses per day from January 23 to 29. Other residents in the province are also being encouraged to get booster doses.

    The Deputy Governor of Chiang Mai, Worravit Chaisawat, was chair of the meeting at Chiang Mai City Hall yesterday, January 4.2023 as the province prepares Covid-19 measures and restrictions for when Chinese tourists arrive next week. The meeting agreed to provide free booster shots to workers involved in the tourism industry in the province from January 23 to 29 and 3,000 shots per day will be administered.

    Worravit urged business leaders to take their staff to get their booster shots. He said the campaign will help tourist businesses move forward steadily and successfully. The booster will help reduce infection risk among employees which could prevent businesses from facing a staff shortage problem.

    Chaing Mai also encouraged locals in the province to get booster shots in readiness for the cold season when coronavirus is easier to transmit. Vaccination centres are now open at Nakornping Hospital, Chiang Mai Mother and Child Hospital, Chiang Mai Neurological Hospital, and some local health centres.

    The vice president of the Professional Tourist Guides Association of northern Thailand, Sihadate Jiajadesada, also assured that 1,000 tour guides, especially Chinese-speaking, will be ready to serve foreign tourists in Chiang Mai and other provinces in northern Thailand.


    • #3
      Welcome to Thailand, land of the Chinese dream

      After years of pandemic misery, China‘s social media is alive with talk of Thailand, the land of the Chinese dream. The Chinese people are drawn to what they see as the kingdom’s slower pace of balanced life, and benefits such as cheap international schools. Influencers are painting a picture of a paradise where dreams come true. Stressed-out parents, according to Aljazeera, can see little beyond cheap international schools and working from home in an exotic locale. Beautiful people sip coffee from porcelain cups, overlooking cobalt seas. Children laugh constructively with their Western teachers. Exotic vegetables are good-naturedly haggled over and paid for through QR codes. For retirees, there are affordable healthcare workers, smiling as they steer you down Walking Street. This truly is the Thailand of my dreams.
      Click image for larger version

Name:	Chinese.jpg
Views:	30
Size:	144.3 KB
ID:	7025

      We just want them to enjoy life
      A Chinese mother appears over footage of an idyllic Finnish school in Phuket, where English is widely spoken and multi-coloured pupils flock from around the world. Not too many Chinese students, but just enough. A Finnish school has little to fear from Phuket’s Chinese occupiers. The mother speaks… “We don’t need our kids to ‘win’ before reaching the finish line. Our kids don’t have to have the highest grades or be the most disciplined. We just want them to enjoy life and be happy.” From tomorrow, Beijing will resume passport renewals and scrap quarantine on arrival, which has kept all but a small fraction of Chinese citizens from travelling outside the country since early 2020. Tens of millions of Chinese people are expected to book flights for overseas holidays over the coming weeks and months. Though China is pleading poverty, no amount of antigen testing will be able to withstand this tide of raw money. Many are preparing to leave China for good, frustrated by a country that is increasingly expensive, authoritarian, competitive and difficult to raise a family or retire in.

      Run away! Run away!
      It is unclear how many Chinese people have actually emigrated or are seriously considering it. Social media posts about “run philosophy,” (run xue) have been viewed millions of times. For those with money, and there are plenty of them, Thailand is attractive and accessible. Property is a fraction of the price of Beijing and Shanghai. The Chinese already rank as the biggest group of foreign buyers of property, with more than 3,500 units snapped up in 2022 at an average of US$150,000 (5 million baht) a piece. More will be arriving and looking for a deal any minute now. In Phuket and Pattaya, Chinese buyers are scooping up more than a quarter of new condos in prime areas. About 300,000 tourists from China are predicted in the first three months of 2023. Thailand saw 10 million Chinese visitors in 2019, one in four arrivals, then nothing. Thailand’s economy contracted by 6.1% in 2020, one of the steepest declines in the region, followed by a 1.5% expansion in 2021. Since fully reopening in mid-2022, the economy has rebounded strongly. For the real estate sector, China’s sudden change of attitude has been greeted with relief. Ting Ye, a property manager in Shenzhen who sells real estate in Chon Buri, told Aljazeera…“There are two reasons for Chinese coming here. The first is an investment: they buy condos and houses to rent and resell. The second is for living. Many people are looking to live in Thailand due to its cheap costs and international schools, while some elders are also coming here for retirement.”

      The Chinese dream
      Thailand may offer an antidote to popular phrases on social media such as “lying flat” and “involution” – relentless hard work for little reward in China’s big cities. Chinese emigrants to Thailand describe a lifestyle that is carefree, even lavish. In one video, “Cindy” gives a tour of a care home in Chiang Mai that she says has 24-hour nursing on hand and charges just US$1,600 (54,000 baht) per month. Beijing influencer “Alex” espouses a digital-nomad lifestyle in Thailand, the land of the Chinese dream. He describes the joys of a leisurely work life, hopping between cafés at a laid-back pace. Many posts involve mothers swapping stories about the benefits for their children. For Sudarat Phakdee, a teacher at One Day in Pattaya, there is little doubt that her small classes suit the personalities of her young pupils from China. Phakdee told Aljazeera… “They love it here, they seem to be really enjoying themselves because we have a lot of space for them to run around. They seem very relaxed and playful.”

      Welcome to Thailand, the Land of the Chinese dream !


      • #4
        Thailand instructs airlines to check traveller vaccination starting January 9.2023

        The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand has today published to airlines the new rules for foreigners entering the country by air. They instruct airline check-in staff to scrutinize every passenger’s vaccination documentation prior to boarding, starting Monday January 9. The order lasts until the end of January but will likely be extended or made harsher in the light of experience.

        All air passengers of any nationality, aged 18 and over, will need documentary proof of at least two anti-covid vaccine shots. The same paperwork could be required too by Thai immigration on landing, although this latter step may be on an occasional or random basis as the main thrust is on the shoulders of the air carriers. Unvaccinated or undocumented travellers will likely be refused boarding as will those who appear sick.​

        Exemptions from the requirement are limited at present to foreign boys and girls under 18, all Thai nationals and foreigners working here with authorized permits. The latter two groups are covered by Thailand’s social security and public health systems and are not regarded as high risk for that reason. The current order does not appear to include arrivals by land or sea. That’s likely because of technical difficulties at busy border crossings, but may be a temporary relief depending on the future of the virus infection in Thailand.

        Most air arrivals will not be required to show tourist or anti-covid health insurance under the CAAT ruling. However, those arriving in Thailand with onward tickets to destinations which require RT-PCR clinical testing as part of that country’s immigration requirements will need Thai insurance. For example, both India and China both require all entrants, including their own nationals, to have RT-PCR health tests within 48 hours of their flights from Thailand. Thus Thai health insurance is needed for such travellers in case they fail their pre-flight covid examination here.

        No guidance is given in the CAAT circular about the details of such insurance. It will presumably need to specify potential hospitalization in case of proving covid-positive whilst in Thailand. As with the vaccination record check, the main responsibility will be with the airlines to check carefully the onward travel plans of their customers, or risk heavy fines if they are less than diligent. The extra costs of insurance could deter some Chinese tourists from visiting Thailand as the financial blow has already caused some Indians to cancel Thai holidays. It is also unclear whether Thai hospitals and clinics have the staff or resources suddenly to guarantee thousands of RT-PCR within 48 hours of intended departure at a low cost, a potentially mammoth task.

        The CAAT regulations spring from Thai governmental concerns about the rise in the number of infections in China as Beijing cancels its former strict ban on international travel. Thai authorities are determined to “do something” whilst ensuring that the measures do not single out Chinese visitors to Thailand for special treatment lest any discrimination jeopardizes Sino-Thai economic and political ties. But the new requirement for all air passengers to show vaccination records pre-boarding will be unpopular internationally. Travel gurus are already saying that Thailand must beware of throwing the baby out with the bath water.


        • #5
          Pattaya braces for Chinese Tourists, Covid-19 Resurgence

          Pattaya is bracing for a wave of returning Chinese tourists, and the risk of Covid-19 infections that will come with it. Pattaya is bracing for a wave of returning Chinese tourists, and the risk of Covid-19 infections that will come with it. China is recording more than 35 million new coronavirus cases and 900 deaths a day, but the government has unlocked the airports to allow tour groups and independent travelers to take the virus abroad.

          Pattaya, according to a very unofficial poll, is the No. 2 beach destination on that list. A report by American cable news channel CNBC reported that a Tik-Tok poll in China that got nearly 1.8 million views ranked Pattaya Beach second only to Australia’s Bondi Beach. Votes were cast through comments with hashtags. Sanphet Suphabuansathien, president of the Thai Hotels Association Eastern Chapter, said that’s one indication of the pent-up demand for travel to Thailand and Pattaya among the mainland Chinese.

          He said many tour agencies have restarted operations and he expects group tours to hit Pattaya in large numbers in March. Pattaya Business & Tourism President Boonanan Pattanasin said he believes Pattaya’s populace is still adequately protected against Covid-19 through vaccinations, even though the vaccine still being administered in 2020 provides much less protection against 2022 variants, including new ones exploding in China right now. Thailand is not expected to receive doses of newly reformulated vaccines designed to target the omicron and delta variants until next year. Boonanan admitted Pattaya will see an uptick in Covid-19 cases, but he said only those in elderly or vulnerable groups are at significant risk.

          Thailand’s tour package prices bump up for Chinese visitors

          There are now fewer flight connections between Thailand and China, and unprepared tour agents in China, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)’s regional director for marketing in East Asia. The director, Chuwit Sirivejkul, said the result of this is a limited amount of tour packages.​ Thailand’s tour package prices are being bumped up for Chinese visitors to the Land of Smiles. This news comes after China lifted travel restrictions on its citizens on January 8.​202

          Due to the high demand and few tours, Chuwit said the price of packages is 20% higher on average than the rate before the Covid-19 pandemic. He noted that many airlines are working to increase flights in the first quarter, Bangkok Post reported. Chuwit said there are currently 344,446 confirmed seats with an 85% load factor on each flight from China. This could help carry 320,397 Chinese tourists to the kingdom by March. Since China still doesn’t allow tour operators to conduct outbound tour groups, Chuwit said most tourists will now choose independent travel. Chuwit listed some challenges around preparedness for Chinese visitors, including developing good attitudes towards Chinese tourists, Chinese language skills, and online payment platforms compatible with Chinese users.

          TAT is rushing to prepare for the return of Chinese visitors. It is planning a roadshow in China during the third week of February, which will be the first roadshow after the Covid pandemic. The roadshow is to be held in three major Chinese cities, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Chengdu. TAT’s deputy governor for international marketing in Asia and South Pacific said that all five TAT offices in China, as well as domestic tourism operators, are looking to prepare for Chinese tourists’ return. It’s not just the tourism industry hurrying to prepare for Chinese tourists. In Pattaya, Tourist Police are preparing to protect Chinese tourists from the city’s crimes. Officers are patrolling high-risk spots such as Walking Street, South Pattaya, and Beach Road. Time will tell what further developments unfold regarding the Chinese return to Thailand.


          • #6
            Thai health expert says Covid from the West is more dangerous than from China

            An influential Thai virologist said new Covid-19 strains from tourists traveling from the West are more worrisome than older strains from tourists traveling from China.

            Dr. Yong Poovorawan came out today, January 6th, to allay Thai people’s concerns over a surge in Covid-19 infections in light of China’s upcoming easing of travel restrictions from January 8th onwards. Dr. Yong, who is the chief of the Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology at Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Medicine, posted on his Facebook wall that, “The ongoing outbreak in China is primarily caused by the Omicron subvariant of Covid-19, known as BA.5, which has already spread in Thailand.”

            He went on to say that, “We should be more concerned about the strains that have not spread in Thailand, especially the BQ variant from Western countries which is more alarming.” The doctor also commented on certain tourists that, “We do not check and cannot force (them) to wear face masks.” Covid-19 cases in Thailand are declining in Thailand due to seasonal transition, according to Dr. Yong. 70% of Thai people (around 50 million) have been infected with the coronavirus, and 90% already have antibodies from vaccination or infection.

            He said,
            “The mutation of the virus can occur anywhere in the world…It is pointless to block tourists from a particular country from entering the kingdom.”

            Chinese tourists won’t trigger increase in Covid-19 cases

            The Department of Disease Control (DDC) reckons the influx of Chinese tourists will not trigger an increase in Covid-19 cases in Thailand but added the department will evaluate the status of coronavirus infections in two weeks’ time.​DDC Director-General Dr Tares Krassanairawiwong revealed yesterday that the average daily number of cases is 900, and the number of Covid patients in critical condition who require a respirator has decreased, reported Bangkok Post.​

            The country is now seeing eight deaths a day from the virus on average. Moreover, the number of cases after the new year holidays has turned out to be lower than expected. Tourism businesses have been preparing themselves for an influx of tourists from China after the country lifted quarantine measures over the weekend. They and their staff have been fully vaccinated and have been practicing universal prevention measures.

            “As many Chinese are expected to tour religious sites, the DDC is working with the Ministry of Culture and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) to make sure safety measures are in place. “At international airports, body temperature scanners have been installed, and disease control staff deployed to provide health advice to travellers who are either infected or suspected of being infected with the virus. “The same Covid-19 measures as those imposed on air travellers will apply to other foreign and Thai nationals entering Thailand by land through the border provinces such as Chiang Rai. “Tourists from countries like India and China that require a negative RT-PCR Covid-19 test before they are allowed to return home must still have health insurance covering at least US$10,000 (335,400 baht) in Covid-19 treatment costs before they enter Thailand. “As for Covid-19 vaccination services for foreign tourists, the DDC has designated at least two centres in Bangkok and one each in Phuket, Chon Buri and Chiang Mai.”
            The DDC made it known that vaccines will be made available for foreign travellers arriving in Thailand. The cost for one shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be 800 THB, and the cost for one shot of the Pfizer vaccine will be 1,000 THB. It is expected that around 300,000 Chinese tourists will arrive in the next three months, accounting for approximately 5% of all international arrivals. Deputy clerk Suksan Kittisupakorn announced that the BMA and the Ministry of Public Health have made over 10,000 hospital beds available for new Covid patients.


            • #7
              Koh Samui Ferries prepare to welcome back Chinese Tourists

              Koh Samui ferries prepare to welcome back Chinese tourists this weekend. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Chinese made up Thailand’s biggest tourist group. Yesterday, China finally allowed its citizens to travel abroad again. Thai media said yesterday that ferry companies in Koh Samui’s Angthong sub-district were preparing their ferries to accommodate tourists travelling to Koh Samed, Koh Pha Ngan, and Koh Tao.

              The manager of Lomprayah said the company was preparing for Chinese tourists by cleaning the ferry each time it transported passengers, and preparing hand sanitiser on the ferry. The manager, Kittisak Thanaput, said he was a bit concerned about Chinese tourists possibly being infected with Covid. However, he said he felt the company was prepared to handle the situation due to the measures it has in place, and its “experience of living with the virus for some time.”

              Last week, news broke that more than a quarter of passengers from China landing in Taiwan tested positive for coronavirus. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) in Taiwan reported that over a quarter of the 500 plus travellers who arrived in Taiwan from China returned positive Covid test results, reported focustaiwan. Several countries have rushed to impose restrictions on travellers arriving in their respective countries from China after Beijing announced it will open its borders to international travellers and relax restrictions yesterday.

              As Chinese tourists make their way to the ‘Land of Smiles,’ the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) has recently announced a set of rules that will apply to all non-Thai arrivals between January 9 and 31. According to the CAAT, non-Thai passengers who are 18 or older must present documentation proving that they have received at least two vaccines. Those who are not vaccinated must provide a doctor’s letter explaining their exemption, or proof that they have recovered from Covid in the past six months. The CAAT issued an updated Notice to Airmen (NOTEM) to all airlines, detailing other entry requirements as well.


              • #8
                Chinese tourists may bring growing pains to the Thai travel industry

                While people in the tourism and entertainment sector are celebrating China’s announcement to reopen and allow outgoing travel, others have raised fears about the potential problems that could come with an influx of Chinese tourists. Some fear an overwhelming surge of Chinese tourists flooding Thailand’s hotspots. Others worry that the healthcare systems in Thailand could be overburdened by the influx of tourists, especially amidst the massive Covid-19 outbreak China is currently experiencing.

                China announced on Monday it will reopen its borders and abandon its strict Covid quarantine for travellers and mainland citizens on January 8. The announcement signals great news for Thailand as the kingdom continues to prosper from the worldwide relaxation of Covid restrictions. Before the pandemic, China was the No.1 source of international tourists for Thailand and many other countries in the region.

                The Tourism Authority of Thailand said that if the Chinese definitely return to their pre-pandemic travel habits, the TAT will raise their target estimates for 2023 from 20 million to over 25 million international travellers. They estimated up to 500,000 people will flock to Thailand for the Chinese New Year holiday. They further expect between three and five million Chinese travellers in the kingdom throughout the year.

                The TAT is meeting with the private sector today in what they called a recalibration of preparation and policy. After three years with reduced tourism and no Chinese tourist, the industry may be a bit rusty. One major concern is the huge surge of Covid infections currently occurring in China. The government stopped announcing the number of infections after it was reported that about one million people a day contract Covid. TAT governor Yuttasak Supasorn vowed to consult with the Ministry of Public Health to address that issue and make sure that the healthcare system in Thailand is ready.

                “The most important factor is not how many Chinese will return to visit Thailand, but helping the country avoid another Covid wave and keeping Thais safe.”
                Aside from Covid, the mechanics of travel may not be prepared for a huge jump in Chinese tourist arrivals. Flight capacity needs to be ramped up quickly to accommodate the demand. Hotels in some markets have been nearing capacity, but the promise of the returning Chinese tourist market may help resolve that issue by allowing closed properties to finally have the stability to reopen and guarantee income to fuel operations and staffing.

                But staffing itself may be another issue as the hotel industry is still experiencing a labour shortage. With tourism the first sector to be a casualty of the pandemic and the last to reopen, many workers simply shifted industries and got new jobs. The president of the Thai Hotels Association said that hoteliers should be prepared to pay higher salaries and operation costs to get back off the ground.

                Data suggests that a surge of Chinese travellers is imminent. Online travel platform Qunar saw a seven-fold increase in flight searches within 15 minutes of the reopening announcement. And while Japan and South Korea were popular, the second and third most searched destinations, Thailand topped the list of travel locations that were searched. Customers in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou also overwhelmed Tongcheng Travel, which recorded an 850% increase in international travel searches.​


                • #9
                  Tourism Authority of Thailand plans first roadshow in China after pandemic

                  Now that China has lifted travel restrictions for its citizens, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is once again tapping into the Chinese tourism market. TAT is planning a roadshow in China during the third week of February. The roadshow is to be held in three major Chinese cities, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Chengdu. As many as 120 business people from China and Thailand plan to join the roadshow, Chuwit said yesterday. This is part of a bid to create tour packages for foreign independent travellers (FITs) and tour groups.

                  Chuwit added that the Chinese online travel agent Ctrip said that the company would launch an online marketing campaign on social media to promote its tour packages in Thailand, Nation Thailand reported. Chuwit said TAT estimates that only around 300,000 Chinese travellers will come to Thailand in the first quarter, with the number predicted to increase from the second quarter onwards. TAT’s deputy governor for international marketing in Asia and South Pacific said that all five TAT offices in China, as well as domestic tourism operators, are looking to prepare for Chinese tourists’ return. Chuwit said…

                  “The TAT has been notified by the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand as well as airlines operators of the restoration of flights between Thailand and China, which will start on January 18 until the third week of March this year, when the winter season finishes.”
                  TAT isn’t the only group preparing for the Chinese to return to Thailand. Thailand’s tourism businesses are also preparing for Chinese tourists to make their way back to the land of smiles. Over the weekend, ferry companies in Koh Samui started preparing to transport Chinese tourists. The manager of Lomprayah said the company was preparing for Chinese tourists by cleaning the ferry each time it transported passengers, and preparing hand sanitiser on the ferry. Now that the Chinese are slowly heading back to Thailand, the kingdom’s tourism industry is getting ready to welcome them back.


                  • #10
                    China is reopening after zero-Covid. But there’s a long road ahead

                    It’s been about two weeks since mainland China abruptly ended most Covid controls, but the country still has a long way to go to return to a pre-pandemic normal. In major cities Shanghai and Shenzhen, Friday morning rush hour traffic was extremely light, according to Baidu data. Subway ridership in major cities as of Thursday remained well below the normal range, according to Wind Information.

                    “The significantly larger-than-expected COVID waves are leading to voluntary social distancing, as shown by the empty streets in Beijing in mid-December,” S&P Global Ratings analysts said in a report Wednesday.
                    “While this wave may ease in coming weeks, resurgence is probable during the Lunar New Year festival in late January 2023,” the analysts said. “It will be the first time in nearly three years that mass migration will resume in China as families congregate.”
                    On Dec. 7, 2022 Chinese authorities removed virus testing requirements and health code checks for domestic travel, among other relaxation in what had become an increasingly stringent zero-Covid policy. Meanwhile, local infections started to surge, especially in Beijing. Within a week, more than 60% of one Beijing-based company’s staff tested positive for Covid, said Michael Hart, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in China.

                    “Two weeks later we’re able to have people coming back into the office,” he said Friday. “We basically went down real fast. Looks like we’re bouncing back really fast.”
                    Friday morning traffic in Beijing had recovered slightly from a week ago, putting the capital city back into first place as the most congested nationwide, Baidu data showed. But the figures showed the level of congestion in Beijing was still about 25% below where it was last year. In a survey of nearly 200 AmCham China members from Dec. 16 to 19, more than 60% of respondents said they expected the impact of the latest Covid outbreak to be over in one to three months, Hart said.

                    Respondents did not report major supply chain issues, Hart said, noting many companies likely keep more inventory on hand after disruptions from the Shanghai lockdown earlier this year. However, he said that most respondents said at this time they were unable to predict the long-term impact of the outbreak on their business. As for foreign direct investment into China, Hart said he expected it would take about a year after travel fully reopens for such investment to start recovering. China has yet to change its quarantine policy for international travelers to the mainland. Arrivals currently need to quarantine for five days at a centralized facility, followed by three days at home.

                    Travel on the rise

                    Other data indicated a pickup in domestic travel. Bookings for flights out of Beijing from Monday to Wednesday rose by 38% from a week earlier, while economy prices rose by 20%, according to Qunar data cited by Chinese media Sina Finance. CNBC was unable to independently confirm the report. Chinese travel site said that from Dec. 7 to Dec. 18, flight bookings destined for the tropical island province of Hainan rose by 68% from the prior month. Hainan hotel bookings last week rose by 20% from the prior week, said.

                    While Beijing city appears to be emerging from a Covid wave, outbreaks have hit other parts of the country. In the southern cities of Shenzhen and Guangzhou, there are far fewer people on the streets, said Klaus Zenkel, vice president at the EU Chamber of Commerce in China and chairman of its South China chapter. He estimated road traffic had dropped by 40%, implying an infection rate of about 60%. Most companies are following guidelines that only ask employees to stay home if they have fever or strong Covid symptoms, Zenkel said Thursday. “That means [the] work force will be reduced, only hope that not all get sick at the same time.”

                    Lack of data

                    There are few official numbers on the surge of infections or deaths from China’s latest Covid outbreak. The World Health Organization’s emergencies director Mike Ryan said at a briefing Wednesday that China was likely unable to keep up with the surge of infections.

                    “In the case currently in China, what is being reported is relatively low numbers of cases in hospital or relatively low numbers of cases in ICUs, while anecdotally there are reports that those ICUs are filling up,” Ryan said, according to an official transcript.

                    “In a fast-moving wave, you might have reported three days ago that your hospital is okay,” he said. “This morning it may not be okay because the wave has come and all of a sudden you have very high force of infection.”
                    Most people have self-tested for the virus after the removal of most mandatory testing. Last week, the National Health Commission also stopped reporting asymptomatic cases.

                    “The government had been [holding] daily press conferences telling you how many people were infected,” AmCham’s Hart said. “Then they went to no information.”
                    He said the lack of official announcements has made it easier for rumors to spread. Hart also said interactions with government groups indicated their offices were being infected and implementing work-from-home at a similar pace to what businesses had seen.


                    • #11
                      Chinese tourists expected to flock back to Phuket and Chiang Mai

                      Chinese tourists are expected to soon flock back to Phuket and Chiang Mai, after China eased travel restrictions on its citizens on January 8.2023 Now, the two tourism hotspots expect a significant jump in travel on direct flights from China from January 18, according to local airport authorities. There will be one daily direct flight from China to Chiang Mai, and three to Phuket, with non-stop air links to keep rising between the two countries, Bangkok Post reported. On January 18, a flight will start operating from Shanghai to Chiang Mai.

                      Two days later, another flight will start operating from Guangzhou to Chiang Mai, according to Chiang Mai Airport director Wichit Kaeosaithiam. A Beijing-Chiang Mai flight, and Chengdu-Chiang Mai flight, and two more Shanghai-Chiang Mai flights are pending permission, he said. Meanwhile, three direct flights to Phuket from China will also start on January 18. Two of the flights are from Shanghai, while one is from Nanjing. The flights will carry a total of 500 passengers a day. Another two flights from China to Phuket are pending permission, according to the president of the Phuket Tourist Association.

                      The president, Thanet Tantiphiriyakit, said another three flights would start on January 24, adding up to a total of eight direct flights between China and Phuket. Thailand’s tourism industry is busy prepping for the Chinese to return. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is planning a roadshow in China during the third week of February. This will be the first roadshow after the Covid-19 pandemic, according to TAT’s Regional Director of East Asia Chuwit Sirivejkul. The roadshow is to be held in three major Chinese cities, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Chengdu.

                      Chuwit said TAT estimates that only around 300,000 Chinese travellers will come to Thailand in the first quarter, with the number predicted to increase from the second quarter onwards. TAT’s deputy governor for international marketing in Asia and South Pacific said that all five TAT offices in China, as well as domestic tourism operators, are looking to prepare for Chinese tourists’ return.


                      • #12
                        Tourist Police prepare to protect Chinese from Pattaya’s crimes

                        Now that China has lifted travel restrictions on its citizens, Pattaya Tourist Police are preparing to protect Chinese tourists from the city’s crimes. The chief of Tourist Police Station 4 said yesterday that the lift on Chinese travel restrictions might result in a crime rise in the area. Tourist Police will start patrolling high-risk spots such as Walking Street, South Pattaya, and Beach Road every day from 9pm to 3am. The chief, Pol. Lt. Col. Pichaya Kheawpluang, said this especially aims to deter crimes by transgender people allegedly involved in many recent petty crimes against tourists.

                        Pichaya urges all tourists to download the app Police I Lert U. The app allows people to send their location to police very quickly, as opposed to calling them. It also allows people to send photos to the police. Tourists are also advised to contact the 1155 Hotline Center, which provides help for issues such as exploitation or overpriced items. The centre provides assistance in English, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Chinese, and Arabic. It is staffed 24 hours a day, The Pattaya News reported. A renowned nightlife hotspot, Pattaya has a notable problem with thefts against tourists.

                        This week, two Russian men filed complaints with the police after nearly 140,000 THB disappeared from safety boxes in a hotel in Pattaya. Last week, a burglar snatched almost 100,000 baht from a Hong Kong tourist’s rented Pattaya villa, according to the victim. The victim’s villa is located in Jomtien Beach. Last year, Pattaya became notorious for several thefts by ladyboys against tourists, particularly Indian tourists. Last month, transgender thieves stole a wallet with 2,000 baht in cash, and a mobile phone that cost about 10,000 baht, from a 50 year old Indian expat and restaurant owner on Pattaya Beach Road. A Russian tourist also had their gold necklace stolen by ladyboys in Pattaya on the beach outside Royal Garden Plaza Pattaya Shopping Centre.


                        • #13
                          China gives green light to Chinese Tour Groups

                          China has lifted its restriction on group tours travelling to Thailand and 19 other countries. The reopening of tour groups officially started yesterday, marking a significant step towards normalising international travel for Chinese tourists. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism in China made the announcement yesterday. This move will officially allow tour agencies and online travel companies to begin booking large group tours. Before the Covid-19 pandemic large Chinese tour groups were ubiquitous in Thailand and many other countries, seen travelling by buses and led by flag bearers.

                          Before the pandemic, China has for years been the top country in terms of the sheer number of tourists travelling to Thailand. The country accounted for around 30% of the overall tourists visiting the kingdom. The travel industry in Thailand is expected to welcome this news with open arms, as it would bring a much-needed boost to their economy.

                          However, some residents have already expressed concerns about the return of the throngs of tourists, complaining about the potential traffic problems that may arise due to the influx of people. China had already dropped individual international travel restrictions earlier this month, but had not yet given the green light to tour operators, a preferred travel method earlier this month, but had not yet given the green light to tour operators for millions of Chinese tourists.

                          Arrivals are forecast to start ramping up in the second quarter of 2023 with some predictions estimating 7-8 million Chinese tourists for the whole year, about two-thirds of the 11.5 million who visited Thailand in 2019 pre-pandemic. This could help boost the total number of foreign arrivals to 26-27 million, a recent survey by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) found.

                          The Ministry of Tourism also instructed local authorities in China to closely monitor travel businesses and ensure that their tours meet standards. They called on authorities to keep an eye out for tours being promoted at “unreasonably low prices.” In addition to Thailand, the approved countries for the tour group and “flight+hotel” services from Chinese travel companies are:
                          • Argentina
                          • Cambodia
                          • Cuba
                          • Egypt
                          • Fiji
                          • Hungary
                          • Indonesia
                          • Kenya
                          • Laos
                          • Malaysia
                          • the Maldives
                          • New Zealand
                          • the Philippines
                          • Russia
                          • Singapore
                          • South Africa
                          • Sri Lanka
                          • Switzerland
                          • the United Arab Emirates


                          • #14
                            Chinese tour groups landing in Thailand again

                            The first direct tour group flights from mainland China to Thailand marked a milestone in the recovery of the Thai tourism industry. One flight landed at Don Mueang International Airport yesterday morning with 40 Chinese tour group members and 90 other travellers. The second landed in the afternoon in Phuket. In total, 13 flights with tour groups from China landed in Thailand yesterday. The Chinese government recently allowed group tour companies to provide full-package tours to 20 countries, which is expected to rapidly increase Chinese tourism to Thailand.

                            The flight to Phuket, operated by Spring Airlines, arrived at 3.15pm, carrying 172 passengers. Those Chinese tour group members were greeted with fanfare by the General Manager of Phuket airport and representatives from Spring Airlines and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Phuket Office. Meanwhile, the first flight to Bangkok was met with flower garlands and souvenirs by Yang Xin, Charge d’Affaires acting as Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Thailand and TAT governor Yuttasak Supasorn.

                            The return of the Chinese tourist market is considered a positive sign for the Thai economy and is expected to significantly contribute to its recovery. On the first day of the tour companies’ operations, a total of 13 flights from cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Xiamen, Nanking, and Nanning, arrived in Thailand, landing at Don Mueang Airport, Suvarnabhumi Airport, and Phuket International Airport. The tourists on group tours are following a six-day travel program, travelling to Bangkok, Pattaya, and Rayong. They are visiting major attractions such as Koh Samet, Nong Nooch Tropical Garden, and the Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

                            From January 1 to February 2, 99,429 Chinese tourists travelled to Thailand. The TAT Governor drew a rosy picture for Thai tourism with the return of Chinese tour groups.

                            “The return of near-term markets like the Chinese tourist market is considered a positive sign and has significant implications for the overall recovery of the Thai economy. With 2,000 flights from cities such as Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Chengdu, Xiamen, Kunming, etc, altogether offering 445,655 seats on flights to Thailand, the TAT expects there will be an estimated 300,000 tourists from China entering Thailand in the first quarter of this year.

                            “The Chinese tourists who initially entered Thailand consisted mainly of business people, students and the new generation of tourists who preferred to travel on their own [FIT], reflecting a good sign that more will continue to travel to Thailand throughout the year. This will help push the number of Chinese tourists to reach 5 million according to the target in 2023, including the opportunity to increase to 7-8 million from the factor of the trend of booking air tickets. The frequency of flights also continues to increase, and Thailand is still the most popular destination in the hearts of Chinese tourists.”

                            Chinese ambassador visits Phuket as tourism surges

                            Chinese tourist arrivals are expected to surge to over 300,000 in April, according to the Chinese ambassador to Thailand, Han Zhiqiang. The ambassador made a courtesy visit to Phuket governor Narong Woonciew at the Provincial Hall on Saturday, where the two worked to strengthen ties between Thailand and China and increase tourism to Phuket and beyond. Narong and the Chinese ambassador went over several plans, including Thailand’s aim to chair the Specialised Expo 2028. They discussed the prospects for tourists travelling between China and Thailand and also worked on the goal of Phuket setting up sister cities within China. Tourism was first on the docket as Phuket has been a hotspot since China lifted tourism travel restrictions in January. Currently, an average of 20,000 Chinese tourists visit each day on 20 flights into Phuket International Airport.

                            The numbers are steadily increasing and industry officials believe the ambassador’s visit will give an extra boost and encourage more Chinese travellers to head to Thailand. The president of the Phuket Tourist Association, Thaneth Tantipiriyakij, said the visit of the Chinese ambassador will benefit the tourism sector on the island. The Phuket Provincial Administrative Organisation has further plans to host a travelling roadshow in Shanghai, Chengdu, and Nanning. They will work with the private sector to organise and run these travel events.

                            Phuket has already established links with several cities in China, including Yantai, Hainan, Ningxia Hui, Guilin, Yanjiang, Xiamen, and the Macau special administrative region. Governor Narong now has his sights set on a partnership with Xi’an next. The Phuket government also has its eye on the Specialised Expo and Ambassador Han hinted that China might throw support behind hosting the world expo as Phuket Expo 2028. The meeting mirrored on a local level the visit from Chinese President Xi Jinping last year when he met with His Majesty the King and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. The meeting yielded a commitment to positive bilateral relations and a goal to build a stronger Chinese-Thai community relationship.


                            • #15
                              Thailand strengthens tourism ties with China in high-profile meeting

                              Thailand is strengthening its tourism ties with China after the two countries inked a letter of intent in a high-profile meeting. Chinese Culture and Tourism Minister, Hu Heping, and Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, signed the Letter of Intent between the TAT and China Tourism Group Travel Services. As 2023 marks 48 years of diplomacy between the two countries, it also marks 17 years of cooperation between their tourism sectors. According to Thailand Business News, the TAT Governor spoke of future opportunities.

                              “During the meeting, there is also a discussion on an opportunity to collaborate on organising the Moon Festival in Thailand. This would help to further strengthen relationships among the public and private sectors as well as the people of China and Thailand.”
                              The Mid-Autumn Festival, Moon Festival, or Mooncake Festival will be held on September 29, 2023. As Thailand has the largest Chinatown in the world, it is one of five countries that holds the largest Chinese New Year celebrations outside of China. The TAT and China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Chinese Embassy in Thailand already have plans underway for the Chinese New Year.

                              Meanwhile, Hu Heping highlighted Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to Thailand to attend the 29th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Bangkok. He says the event was important for strengthening the ties between the two nations. He furthered that the Chinese government recognised the importance of tourism and cultural exchange between the two nations. This has been evident in China’s previous plans to resume outbound tourism after reversing its zero Covid policy.

                              Thailand was one of 20 pilot countries for China’s outbound tourism testing, which Beijing later hailed its Covid-19 travel reversal as a “miracle.” As Thailand opened its doors to Chinese tourists, the country saw 161,540 arriving in the kingdom from January 1 to February 15. That number is only expected to grow to 300,000 in the first three months of 2023. And, a projected total of seven to eight million Chinese tourist arrivals was made for this year.

                              In 2019, the number of Chinese tourists to Thailand totalled 11 million, but as Thailand has seen a 60% recovery of its pre-pandemic tourism levels, catching up may not be far off.
                              Overall, Thailand expects to see 26 million international visitors this year bringing 2.4 trillion baht in revenue or 80% of the pre-pandemic level.