Published on : Thursday, October 24, 2019
International tourists spent more than US$70.1 billion in Thailand last year, accounting for 21.6 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
China was the largest international market at 27 percent, followed by Malaysia (10 percent), South Korea (5 percent), Japan (4 percent), and Laos (4 percent).
But China’s monopoly over the Thai tourism industry is not so stable, and now several accumulated incidents are driving Chinese tourists away from their travel destinations in Thailand.
The baht has gained at least 5.5 percent against the US dollar since January, outperforming other currencies in Southeast Asia.
“It absolutely has an effect,” said Wichit Prakobgosol, Association of Thai Travel Agents President. “When compared to other Asian country currencies they would rather go to Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore or Indonesia,” he added.
But even before the Thai baht became a stronger currency, there were other factors discouraging Chinese tourists from visiting.
Just last year, a tragedy took place, where 47 Chinese tourists died due to sinking tour boat during Thailand’s severe weather season.
Immediately after the incident, Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan made a controversial remark blaming Chinese tour operators for the casualties.
July to October was supposed to be the high season for tourists from China. But the Thai Ministry of Tourism and Sports reported lower number of Chinese tourists.