A new Chinese Tourism Law, which came into effect last October, largely affected Thailand's Chinese tourist market during 4Q13. To cap it all, extensive political protests in Bangkok – prolonged since the 2013 yearend – may continue to cause fewer Chinese tourist arrivals.
Nevertheless, the Chinese government recently adopted easing practices, making it less stringent by allowing Chinese tour agencies to organize relatively unrestricted packaged tours on the condition that a consent form is signed by the tour participants prior to their departure. Other supporting factors, including the value for money and an airline business boom, with several new direct flights from economic cities in China to our provincial tourist destinations, are helping brighten the picture.
By virtue of these positive developments, KResearch forecasts that there will be some 880,000 tourist arrivals from China during 1Q14, although stumbling (-)25.2 percent YoY, or equivalent to an average of 293,333 tourists per month.
Should the political turmoil be settled within 1Q14 and no other disastrous incidents occur over the remainder of 2014, we are of the view that Thai tourism business operators will gradually come to terms with the law and adjust accordingly. The number of tourists from China may rise to over 4.8 million overall throughout 2014 – a 2.0-percent gain over 2013, when growth jumped 68.8 percent – earning us tourism revenues of over THB190 billion.
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