Thailand's Chinese tourist market is making adjustments. During 4M17, the number of Chinese tourist arrivals to Thailand shrank 7.4 percent YoY to 3.19 million, but that was still better than the contraction of 20.7 percent YoY reported for 4Q16 when there were only 1.44 million Chinese visiting us.
However, it is expected that their numbers will gradually increase over the remainder of 2017, thanks to external factors. Over the short term, this inbound tourism market will be supported by the resumption of marketing efforts of Chinese tour operators in Thailand, as well as certain problems between China and South Korea that have undermined Chinese tourist arrivals to the latter.
In our 2017 outlook, given favorable factors at home and aboard, we at KResearch are of the view that the number of Chinese holidaymakers in Thailand will rise perhaps 5-7.5 percent to 9.2-9.4 million visitors, versus the 10.3 percent growth recorded for 2016. The increase should become apparent during 2H17, which is the high season for Chinese tourists during their school and National Day holidays. That uplift would also be supported by a low 4Q16 base.
However, there are several challenges foreseen ahead, including heightened competition in tourism globally, and changing travel behavior among Chinese tourists. In any case, Thailand's receipts from Chinese tourists should reach THB470-480 billion in 2017, which would be 7-9.4 percent higher YoY, versus the 15.2 percent growth reported for 2016.
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