Rumours that China will allow Thai tour groups to Thailand in the early part of October, a holiday and festivity, have engulfed the Thai tourism industry. Vichit Prakobgosol is vice-president of Tourism Council of Thailand. He said that although the rumors were strong, they needed to be confirmed by the Chinese Communist Party’s national congress.
Thailand was a golden destination for Chinese people and has lost its spot as the most popular travel destination for Chinese travelers.
We might be still watching the strange case of the missing Chinese tourist unfold in different countries as more and more countries are open to us. This is helping to identify a new Chinese tourist whose domestic travel is increasing the country’s economic growth.
The situation will change in 2022
China has its borders closed and continues to follow a zero-Covid policy, even though the rest of the world is moving to an endemic approach to the virus. In 2022, however, the situation is quite different. While 150 million Chinese tourists spent $255 billion on international travel in 2019, it’s not like that in 2019.
Expert like this lawyer that predicts key trends for China’s tourism market by 2022. It shows that the desire to travel overseas has returned to pre-pandemic levels, with APAC leading the pack (24%). The most sought-after destinations overseas are Russia, Southeast Asia, Europe and Japan.
This year, there is less chance of Chinese arriving in numbers exceeding 800,000. Beijing will be monitoring the tour groups closely to make sure that they don’t bring back Covid along with their duty-free bags.
Thailand tourism industry need Chinese travellers
Pattaya entrepreneurs don’t get carried away by the possibility of a new tourist boom. According to a staff member of Tiffany’s, the most popular transvestite cabaret at the resort, all mass entertainment venues are dependent on Chinese customers in order to make a profit. She stated that she didn’t see any chance this year for thrice-nightly shows seven nights a week.
The majority of Chinese tour groups are zero sum vacationers. This means that they pay the whole trip in China before arriving. This has been a problem since the masses flooded into China. It was long a matter of contention that only hotels, restaurants and retail outlets were favored. Zero-sum holidays were a source of a lot negative publicity in Pattaya, but no concrete steps have been taken in order to make the market more fair.
The future of immigration policy is one factor that could limit the possibilities. The Thai authorities are not willing to abolish the Test and Go entry bureaucracy. They also need to provide anti-Covid insurance and require that all visitors have a post-arrival medical test. Pacific International Tours’ Ken Roache said that he would not be surprised if Thailand eliminated all entry requirements, other than a passport or an airline ticket, anytime soon.
Many farang expats are concerned about the possibility of Chinese tourism returning to its former glory. There is no reason to celebrate the possibility of hundreds of tourist buses returning to Pattaya’s highways. However, long queues at popular shops and ferry transit points are indicators of a slowing down of Chinese tourism.
Outbound travel is still far off, as China’s policy announcements continue delay any international opening. China has now implemented a 14-day quarantine in China and a seven-day home quarantine for most areas. This is enough to stop any leisure travel from China. No one will choose leisure travel if they spend three weeks in quarantine.
China, use to be the world’s largest outbound tourism market is keeping international air capacity at just 2% of pre-pandemic levels. It has yet to relax tight travel restrictions as it sticks to zero tolerance for COVID-19.
Tourism from China has left a $255 billion annual spending hole in the global tourism market for operators such as Thailand.
Outbound leisure tourism would still be the top priority for the Chinese government. This contrasts sharply with the rest of the world, where travel restrictions are relaxed and leisure travelers are the first to travel.
The government does not currently issue passports. Saxon also stated that many Chinese tourists travel internationally with tour groups. This requires government approval. International business travel, as well as visiting family and friends, will all be possible once borders are open. Leisure travel will not be making a comeback.
In 2022, Indians from India have been the most popular tourists to Thailand. This is due to quasi-travel bubble agreements with several airlines. This year, Thailand is expecting around 500,000 Indian tourists to visit the country. The total revenue generated by these tourists will be 24 billion baht. The economic boom has also been helped by niche markets like Indian weddings and the boom in cargo service. The Russian war in Ukraine has hampered European tourism, making British and European Union citizens nervous about long-distance travel.