This year began with strong growth in Chinese tourist arrivals into Thailand in continuation from 2017. February – having the Chinese New Year (Spring Festival) celebration – is a favored period for Chinese to undertake international trips. According to surveys conducted by the China Tourism Academy and Ctrip (the most popular online tourism service in China), around 6.15 million Chinese plan to travel abroad during their Spring Festival, up 7.0 percent over last year; the top destination booked via Ctrip is Thailand (mostly Bangkok, Phuket, etc.). Throughout February, the total number of Chinese visitors to Thailand may reach 1.12 million arrivals, thus significantly increasing the number of Chinese tourists coming here during January-February, perhaps growing 27.3 percent this year to a total of 2.10 million persons.
Over the remainder of 2018, KResearch holds the view that Chinese tourist arrivals will continue to grow, given an accommodative environment here in Thailand versus South Korea, given the diplomatic disagreement between the two countries that has yet to return to normalcy. In 2018, intense marketing campaigns are expected by both Thai and Chinese tourism operators, in particular, airlines that are seeking to expand routes to secondary cities in China and Thailand alike, and thus gain more travelers via more diverse destinations.
We anticipate that a favorable atmosphere will continue to greet Chinese tourists here given many positive factors. In 2018, the aggregate total of Chinese visitors to Thailand may reach 10.4-10.6 million, rising 6.3-8.4 percent over-year, versus the 12.0 percent growth recorded for 2017. Tourism receipts generated by Chinese tourists vacationing here are estimated will reach THB573.1-584.6 billion, up 9.3-11.4 percent YoY, versus 15.8 percent growth YoY during 2017.