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Permanent visa waiver could triple Chinese arrivals: TAT

Permanent visa waiver could triple Chinese arrivals: TAT

The permanent visa waiver deal between the Thai and Chinese governments could see triple the number of Chinese arrivals this year compared to 2019 before the pandemic hit, Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Thapanee Kiatphaibool said on Wednesday.

She added that the number of Thais visiting China this year would also rise, and probably double the 2019 figure.

Permanent visa waiver could triple Chinese arrivals: TAT

The TAT’s regional offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Kunming, Chengdu and Guangzhou have been collecting tourism data and measuring the response from Chinese agencies and tourism platforms since the new measure came into effect on March 1.

“Data from People’s Daily Online and Trip.com indicate that 30% more Chinese tourists have purchased trips to Thailand since the beginning of this month,” she said, adding that the number of Thai arrivals in China rose 300% year on year, a 160% jump over 2019.

Permanent visa waiver could triple Chinese arrivals: TAT

TAT offices in China also reported four positive signs in the Chinese tourism market following the implementation of the permanent visa waiver. They are:

1. Since March 1, reservations of accommodation in Thailand have increased 300% compared to the same period in 2019, and 200% from that in 2018.

2. While reservations of tour packages to Thailand are gradually improving, the offices recommend adding more video ads to lure Chinese tourists to visit attractions in Thailand.

3. The prices of air tickets are dropping, which will benefit tourists in FIT (flexible independent travel) groups, while Thai arrivals have also enjoyed faster immigration processes at checkpoints.

4. The China National Tourism Administration in each province has rolled out supporting measures for airlines, travel agencies, and operators of chartered flights to boost tourism.

Permanent visa waiver could triple Chinese arrivals: TAT

The Thai government put a temporary visa-free policy in place last September, beginning with a 5-month visa exemption for visitors from China and Kazakhstan, followed by India and Taiwan in November.

The permanent visa waiver for Thai and Chinese citizens came into effect as soon as the temporary measure expired.

The Tourism and Sports Ministry reported on Tuesday (March 12) that more than 1.4 million Chinese tourists have entered Thailand since January 1. This number equals 40% of all Chinese arrivals in 2023 at 3.52 million people.

In the 11 days of March, around 214,000 Chinese tourists landed in Thailand.

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