Chinese tourist arrivals to Thailand hit one million in mid-May, on course to meet the country’s whole-year target on the Chinese market of five million, an official from Thailand’s tourism body said Wednesday.
The return of Chinese tourists is a boon for the country amid headwinds to recovery from the pandemic, Chuwit Sirivejkul, regional director for East Asia of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, told Xinhua.
The government expects the spending of Chinese visitors to reach 446 billion baht (about 13.18 billion U.S. dollars).
“We are cooperating with Chinese airlines. We try to expand flight routes between the two countries, especially for secondary destinations,” he said.
According to the Aeronautical Radio of Thailand, there have been 12,805 flights between China and Thailand between October and April, a 98 percent increase as compared to the same period last year. The number is expected to grow to more than 46,000 by the end of September.
Thailand recorded 9.47 million visitors from January to mid-May, the government earlier said, compared with the 11.15 million visitors in the whole of 2022.
In pre-pandemic 2019, Chinese tourists accounted for about 28 percent of nearly 40 million foreign tourists to Thailand. Tourism, the key driver of Thailand’s economic growth, accounts for about 12 percent of the country’s GDP.