Thailand tourism experiencing concerns over declining arrivals from China

Published on : Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Thailand’s booming tourism industry is experiencing apprehension like never before amid safety concerns and growing discontent following declining arrivals from China. For years, Chinese travellers have held Thailand in high regard as their favorite overseas destination. But things turned sour after a tour boat capsized off Phuket in July, claiming the lives of 47 Chinese holidaymakers.


It didn’t help much when Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon blamed the boat accident on Chinese tour operators for not adhering to Thai safety regulations.
Matters turned negative with Thai officials struggling to formulate policies for ensuring safety and security for foreign tourists. The government finally agreed to an exemption on visa-on-arrival fees for 21 countries, which is part of efforts for boosting arrivals during the high tourist season.


The move is a desperate attempt to reclaim high tourist growth after witnessing a decline in arrivals from China, the biggest source of inbound arrivals for Thailand. In the first nine months of this year, there were 28.54 million foreign visitors, up 8.7% year-on-year. Chinese arrivals grew 13.3% in the same period, but they dropped 8.8% in the third quarter.


The decision to waive visa-on-arrival fees for two months was for visitors from 21 countries. The 2,000-baht fee will be waived from Dec 1 to Jan 31.


The 21 countries are Andorra, Bulgaria, Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.


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