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Tourism from China to grow 16% annually for Thailand

20 January 2016 - Krishna Parnsoonthorn, Bangkok Post

The number of Chinese tourists visiting Thailand is tipped for 16% compound annual growth in the next five years despite the slowing economy in China, says brokerage house CLSA.

The sharp growth in China’s outbound tourism is due to Chinese people’s rising incomes and increasing desire to travel as restrictions such as visas are eased, said Aaron Fischer, CLSA’s regional head of consumer and gaming research. “Chinese people are getting richer and aspirations are rising for more adventurous and exotic locations, driven by social media influence,” he said.

“The first step is to go to destinations in Asia.” The rise in Chinese travellers has driven growth in the Thai tourism industry for a few years.

In 2015, Thailand welcomed 8.3 million Chinese tourists, accounting for 36% of total arrivals. This year’s forecast is for 8 million, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand. CLSA surveyed 400 outbound Chinese travellers who listed Thailand as the third most popular outbound travel destination for Chinese tourists after South Korea and Japan.

Bangkok remains the top draw in Thailand, followed by Phuket, Chon Buri (Pattaya), Chiang Mai and Krabi. Mr Fischer said Chinese outbound travel would continue to drive worldwide tourism in the next five years. “We still maintain our forecast that Chinese outbound tourism will reach 200 million trips by 2020, representing 14% of global outbound,” he said.