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Pattaya Addressing Decline in Chinese Tourism
Published: August 29, 2023 at 2:41 pm
As Pattaya’s once-thriving Chinese tourist numbers dwindle, experts and authorities seek answers and innovative solutions. Boonanan Pattanasin, the President of the Pattaya Business and Tourism Association (PBTA), sheds light on the current situation.
For years, Pattaya has attracted and welcomed millions of Chinese tourists, their presence driving its economy. Recent visa clampdowns and increasing scrutiny of Chinese financial flows aimed at curtailing gray-market transactions have caused a decline in these figures.
This downturn is attributed to factors like fewer flights and high airfares. Boonanan points out that this decline isn’t just a Pattaya issue. The whole Thai tourism sector is feeling the effects. A collaborative initiative involving both the public and private sectors is underway. They aim to bolster U-Tapao International Airport’s flight operations and increase interest in the coming tourist season.
Interestingly, Chinese tourists are changing how they travel. Many now prefer solo trips instead of group tours. However, group travel isn’t completely out, representing 40% of their choices. This change has impacted Pattaya’s hotels, with fewer room bookings from Chinese tourists.
In light of these challenges, Yuthasak Supasorn, the head of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, is stepping up. He envisions restoring tourism to nearly its 2019 peak, potentially bringing in 2.38 trillion baht.
Despite the current challenges with Chinese tourism, the broader picture for Thailand is promising. Vietnamese travelers (+14.40%) lead the charge with impressive growth numbers, followed closely by South Koreans (+9.27%) and Indians (7.17%). Such numbers forecast an encouraging influx from the ASEAN, East Asian, and South Asian corridors as the year progresses.