Thailand may face an uphill battle in achieving the desired influx of arrivals from the Chinese mainland through its upcoming visa-free scheme, primarily due to several factors.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) reported that the seat capacity for Chinese flights in the final quarter is around 400,000 seats, which is 50% lower than the capacity during the same period in 2019.
This is likely to impede Thailand’s plan to increase the number of Chinese tourists to 700,000 per month through a visa-free policy, Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn, president of the Association of Thai Travel Agents, stated.
Consequently, achieving the year-end goal of 5 million tourists will be challenging, as the current monthly arrivals of 350,000 have to practically double, he pointed out.
Moreover, Mr. Sisdivachr highlighted that many Chinese citizens have faced challenges when applying for passports. This poses an additional hurdle that the Thai government cannot address without assistance from Beijing.
A widespread concern about safety among Chinese travelers also further complicates the achievement of desired results for the visa-free plan. These concerns stem from various fake news stories widely circulated on Chinese media such as organ thefts.
Although Thailand has made some progress towards its 5-million goal, with 2.28 million arrivals recorded between January 1st and September 10th, it is facing substantial challenges that need to be addressed.