Following the incident in July involving the boat charter in Phuket, the Thai tourism industry is working to overcome the issues that propped up in the incident’s wake.
Even though the recent accident will likely lead to a drop in Chinese arrivals in the second half of 2018, the Thai Ministry of Tourism & Sports still expects the number to still the forecasted target for the year of 10 million.
From January to July, Thailand welcomed about 6.9 million Chinese visitors, which marks a year-on-year increase of 21.4%, though it dipped by July, which dropped by 0.9% from the preceding year.
According to the Honorary Secretary General of the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) and President of Golden Discovery Express, Adith Chairattananon, said that the number of Chinese arrivals to the capital from July to August dropped by 30% following the incident of the boat charter in Phuket, which made international news.
However, he still expects that the Golden Week Holidays will attract Chinese tourists to the country, though he does admit that it’s unlikely the holiday period will see as many arrivals as last year.
As part of their efforts to woo back Chinese travellers, ATTA held roadshows in several cities in China from the 16th to the 21st September, promoting quality and safe tourism in Thailand in Hefei, Qingdao, Nanjing and Tianjin.
According to Adith, these cities were chosen as part of the strategy to stimulate the Chinese tourist market in the last season of 2018, and the cities that were selected because they, combined, had a total population of 250 million, which means that they represent huge potential for the Thai tourism industry.
President of Thai Hotels Association Southern Chapter, says that the number of Chinese groups in their hotel dropped by half, based on feedback from Phuket hotels that primarily welcome Chinese tourists. He is confident, however, that Chinese tourists will eventually return to the island as the government takes steps to beef up security.
He says that both the government and private sector are working together to get back the trust of Chinese tourists by implementing stricter laws as well as improving the Phuket port.