Tourism is a pillar of the Thai economy and contributes some 9% to its GDP. Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports expects around 38 million tourists to travel to Thailand this year, of which about 10 million will come from China. In fact, the number of Chinese tourists to Thailand reached a record peak of 1.2 million in February 2018, boosted by the annual Spring Festival and its week-long holiday.
Due to its location and convenience, Thailand has always been a popular destination for Chinese tourists going abroad. However, this recent history has not been without ups and downs; in 2016, Thailand’s government launched a campaign to revamp its tourism industry, putting a large number of low-cost tour providers out of business, which affected many companies with Chinese investment or targeting Chinese tourists.
The price of group tours to Thailand increased that year, and the number of visitors to Thailand declined. With the more recent relaxation of these restrictions, however, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Thailand has risen over the past two years.
Last year, Chinese tourists numbered some 9.8 million and generated more than 520 billion Baht (104.7 billion Yuan, US$16.46 billion). TripAdvisor recently published a report showing that young Chinese, most especially those between 26 and 35 years old, are the primary driver behind Chinese tourism to Thailand.
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