The Chinese love for Thailand continues to grow unabated with the latest figures suggesting that visitor numbers are likely to reach 10 million by the end of 2016.
That’s a huge increase on 2015, which saw 7.9 million Chinese tourists arrive in the Kingdom, which in turn was a 71 percent increase on arrival numbers in 2014.
The deputy governor at the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Srisuda Wannapinyosak, said that expectations for visitor numbers were high on the back of a very successful first quarter which saw a high volume of tourists arrive from China, reports the NNT.
Chinese visitors have been a huge boost to the Thai tourism economy in recent years – despite some isolated incidents leaving a somewhat sour taste in the mouths of some – and they now account for around 30 percent of total foreign tourist arrivals to the Kingdom.
They tend to arrive either as part of a larger tour group or as solo individuals and families. The latter are often categorised as ‘quality’ tourists, tending to spend somewhere in the vicinity of ฿5,000 per person per day, and it’s this demographic the TAT are hoping to attract more of.
In order to tempt them in to Siamese shores, the TAT have come up with some creative marketing campaigns to pique the Chinese interest.
And so was yesterday launched the 2016 People’s Choice Awards Thailand Voted By Chinese Tourists. The less-than-pithy title is a very accurate descriptor of the poll: Chinese tourists will be asked to rate and review various Thai attractions via the popular Sino messaging apps, Wechat and QQ, according to Shanghai Daily.
There are 17 categories in which to vote, including food, attractions, airlines and hotels, and the whole campaign is aimed at collating feedback from Chinese visitors about their favourite things in Thailand.
The poll is open from now until Sunday, 19 June and the TAT are hopeful that 1.5 million people will partake. Incentives for taking part include the chance to win free flight tickets from China to Thailand.
Poll results and the winners of the free flights will be announced on Monday, 27 June.
Also likely to boost the Thai-Chinese tourism relationship is the hope that Bangkok Airways will be re-entering the China market soon. Direct routes to Chengdu, Chongqing and Guangzhou from Koh Samui airport are hoping to be developed by the end of the year, reports the Bangkok Post.
The carrier is currently awaiting Chinese regulatory approval for these new routes, but are hopeful at attracting tourists from “western Chinese regions that are remote from the sea,” said company president, Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth.
These new routes are likely to encourage Koh Samui as an alternative to Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai for Chinese tourists.
Featured image is by Roberto Trombetta and used under a Creative Commons licence