Mr. Sittiwat Chewaratanaporn, President of the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA), stated that although there is an initial visa exemption, the booking of tours to Thailand did not increase further, due to tour operations that had previously been booked before the visa exemption.
Mr. Sittiwat also gave an insight that by the end of 2023, it is not predictable whether the number of Chinese tourists will reach the quota of 5 million or not since 2.8 million of them, both applied for visas and exempted, are only currently recorded. However, by November, seasonal Chinese tourists may increase in number as it will be winter in China and popular Thai festivals take place such as the Loy Krathong Festival and Pattaya’s popular Fireworks Festival.
Mrs. Marisa Sukosol Nunpakdee, President of the Thai Hotels Association (THA), said that due to Visa exemption, there is an increasing number of hotels being booked more than 10-20% across regions in Thailand, mostly Bangkok.
Lately, Chinese tourists tend to opt for cultural tourism, their essential motivation is to learn, discover, experience, and consume the tangible and intangible cultural attractions, and are greatly influenced by social media.
Mrs. Marisa and Mr. Han Zhiqiang, Ambassador of the Chinese Embassy in Bangkok, discussed about an estimated number of Chinese tourists traveling abroad more than 100 million by the end of 2023. In the past eight months, more than 40 million Chinese tourists have already traveled abroad. If Thai airline services could raise their number of flights until the end of the year, there is a possibility that the quota of Thai visitors from Chins may be in excess of 5 million.
Although Thailand has dramatically reduced the requirements for Chinese visitors to visit, some processes on the China end remain difficult in the post Covid era and Thai tourism officials continue to work with their Chinese counterparts to attempt to streamline these processes and make things as easy as possible for Chinese tourists to come to Thailand.