Thailand seeks more Chinese tourists but concerns over safety are hampering efforts


Chinese viewership for the film exceeded 90 million as of late-September, according to film data platform Beacon, while revenue was at around 3.8 billion yuan (US$525 million). 

Following the movie’s release, Thailand saw a drop in Chinese tourists. From 410,311 visitors in July, the figure dipped to 355,146 in August and 284,989 in September.

“Chinese people feel scared. They’re afraid of human trafficking and worried they wouldn’t be safe if they travel here,” said Mr Ratasak.

During his official visit to China last month, Mr Srettha had a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping and emphasised his government’s commitment to ensure foreign tourists’ safety following the Siam Paragon shooting incident. 

The two leaders also discussed intensifying efforts to crack down on cross-border crimes such as wire fraud and online gambling.


Domestic factors have also hampered the return of Chinese tourists to Thailand. 

Analysts say sluggishness in the world’s second-largest economy has reduced people’s spending power, especially those outside big Chinese cities. China’s second-quarter gross domestic product growth of 6.3 per cent on-year was below expectations. But its third-quarter growth of 4.9 per cent year-on-year exceeded forecasts.

Meanwhile, limited international flights have affected outbound travel. “The frequency of flights from China to Thailand is still below pre-COVID numbers,” explained Mr Pruangkarn.

Online flight data provider OAG reported that out of China’s top 20 international markets since 2019, Thailand is the least recovered this month.   

“Seats are still 57 per cent below 2019, despite the recent visa relaxation for Chinese visitors to Thailand,” it said on its website.

Still, market observers believe the Thai tourism sector could rebound in the near to medium term, given the right conditions and strategies.

“Thailand can boost Chinese arrivals by promoting Thailand as a safe destination that offers a variety of activities for all types of travellers, and by working with the airlines to increase flights from China,” said Mr Pruangkarn.

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