TAT pushes for bigger visa quota to meet surging demand of Chinese tourists
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will next week push for an increase in the visa quota for Chinese tourists to meet rising demand and recovery of the sector.
Chuwit Sirivejkul, TAT regional director of marketing for East Asia, said on Wednesday that TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn will meet with Foreign Ministry executives next week to discuss the issue.
Currently, the Thai embassy in Beijing and eight consulates in China are only allowed to issue 84,000 visas for Chinese tourists via travel agencies per month.
Apart from getting a visa from the embassy or consulates, Chinese tourists can also get a visa on arrival, but it is more expensive and only allows a stay of 14 days. Visa on arrival costs 2,000 baht, while getting one from the embassy costs 1,200 baht.
Chuwit said the 84,000 visa quota will definitely not meet the rising demand as Thailand expects Chinese arrivals to rise to the pre-pandemic rate of 1 million per month.
He also said an upward trend in arrivals from China was visible from the start of this year.
From January 1 to April 30, 843,920 Chinese tourists landed in Thailand, accounting for 10% of foreign arrivals during that period.
The trend reaffirms TAT’s prediction that this year will see 5.3 million Chinese arrivals, who will generate 446 billion baht in revenue for the country, he said.
Chuwit added that the number of arrivals will possibly grow to 7 million if there are enough flights and a higher visa quota.
He also noted that June, July and August are high season for Chinese tourists because that’s when schools close for summer and families like to take vacations with their children.
In September, large corporations usually reward their employees with trips, while the so-called Golden Week starts on October 1. The week celebrates the founding of the People’s Republic of China and is usually the time people travel and visit family.
Chuwit added that from the end of March to late October, 33,843 flights with 6.13 million seats will have flown between Thailand and China. This does not include the large number of chartered flights expected from July to October, he said.