A significant rise in the number of Chinese tourists from January to April this year has prompted the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to raise its full-year forecast for Chinese arrivals to 6 million from 5.4 million. The hope is the Chinese market will drive tourism this year and offset the downtrend of some European countries.
The Tourism and Sports Ministry reported 2.69 million arrivals from China in the first four months, generating 122 billion baht for the country, a surge of 110% year-on-year. The average spending per person per day among Chinese tourists during the first four months was 6,346 baht.
Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said that was far higher than the first-quarter average of 4,950 baht for all foreign tourists visiting Thailand. The biggest spenders in the first quarter were Singaporeans (6,284 baht per person), Malaysians (6,020 baht), Indians (5,952 baht) and Australians (5,842 baht).
Mrs Kobkarn said the figures showed a potential increase in high-quality holidaymakers from China. Thailand is among the top destinations for Chinese travellers. The minister voiced confidence that Thailand would meet its 2015 goal of 28.5 million foreign tourists and 1.4 trillion baht in tourism revenue.
For this year up to date, 12 million foreign tourists contributed 578 billion baht in revenue.