The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has revised its target for international tourists in 2023, aiming to attract 25 million instead of the previously planned 20 million, after China announced an end to Covid-induced border closures.
The Chinese government also canceled all quarantine measures and restrictions on flights that will go into effect on January 8th, 2023. Details can be followed via this link.
As for the TAT, governor Yuthasak Supasorn said he would propose to the government to extend the period of stay for 3 groups of foreign travelers arriving in Thailand until December 31st, 2023, to attract foreign visitors, especially Chinese, to stay and spend more in Thailand.
Yuthasak said: “Before China announced the easing of travel restrictions, we had set a goal of attracting at least 20 million international tourists (excluding Chinese) to Thailand in 2023. However, after China announced the reopening of its borders, our goal now shifted to attract at least 25 million international tourists including Chinese tourists.”
China’s reopening also brings a great relief to the tourism sector in Thailand. But according to Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn, president of the Association of Thai Travel Agents, the Thai government still has to closely monitor whether the Chinese government will officially announce and allow outbound tourism after January 8th, 2023.
He said: “Thailand and Japan will be among the first group of countries that China will allow its citizens to travel to.”
Regardless, analysts in the travel industry do not expect Chinese tourism to recover immediately for multiple reasons, including a current large outbreak of Covid in China and possible restrictions on countries allowing Chinese tourists in. Japan, for instance, has already started that Chinese tourists will need to take a Covid-19 test on arrival and if positive quarantine for 7 days.
Additionally, China is not expected to immediately allow all types of tourists to travel, instead focusing first on students, business travelers, family visits, and relax overall tourism travel in waves.
Large scale Chinese tour groups and companies will also likely take a few months to get fully up and running again soon so it may be a while until tour buses carrying Chinese tourists are a common sight around Thailand once more.
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