Business / Industries

Thailand expects record number of Chinese visitors

By ZHAO YANRONG (China Daily) Updated: 2015-04-10 08:06

Thailand expects record number of Chinese visitors

Chinese tourists visit the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand, Nov 6, 2014. [Photo / IC] 

Ministry provides travelers with more information on proper way to behave and interact in country

Thailand expects to attract nearly 6 million Chinese tourists to the country this year, a nearly 30-percent increase from last year, despite recent reports about Chinese tourists' inappropriate behavior during their journey to the kingdom, the country's minister of tourism said on Wednesday.

China is the largest source of tourists to Thailand. Last year, 4.62 million Chinese visited Thailand, accounting for 18.7 percent of all international arrivals and generating 188 billion baht ($5.8 billion) in revenue.

However, they were also increasingly criticized for inappropriate behavior at public places in Thailand such as temples and toilets.

"Before the large number of Chinese visited Thailand, say a decade ago, we also prepared 'Do and Don't' lists for travelers from Western countries because of their inappropriate actions. First-time travelers may not understand the local culture and customs, so they sometimes behave differently, but unintentionally," said Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Thailand's minister of Tourism and Sports.

"Among millions of Chinese travelers in Thailand, most of them are leaving China for the first time, so those issues are bound to happen," Kobkarn said.

According to the minister, the Thai government is trying to provide more travel information to Chinese tourists, especially first-time visitors, including brochures and videos.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand also plans to provide more signs in Chinese at popular destinations.

Sightseeing is still the main purpose of Chinese tours, but shopping trips and medical tours have also become popular in recent years.

Kobkarn said Chinese shoppers are good for Thai economic development.

"We don't want tourism income going mainly to hotel and restaurant owners. We hope all people in business can benefit."

To realize a more sustainable tourism industry in Thailand, Kobkarn said the government will promote more value-added tourism programs to attract more high-end visitors.

A railway project linking China and Thailand is under negotiation, and Kobkarn believed that it will give a strong boost to the tourism industry.

"Transportation is very important for our tourism industry, and the train can be another crucial mode of transportation for people traveling in Thailand," she added. "We have a certain number of international airports in major cities. But with the train, Chinese tourists can be able to explore deeper into the country."

Hot Topics

Editor's Picks