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Thailand Targets Asian Expatriates to Drive Tourism and Bolster Economy
Published: June 30, 2023 at 6:04 pm
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) identified the rising wealth of Asian expatriates as a possible asset for Thailand’s tourism sector. As a result of their propensity to transfer their children to Thailand for schooling, Chinese nationals based in Cambodia and Laos have been singled out for education.
According to TAT’s marketing representative for Cambodia and Laos, Oranooch Pakapan-Rutten, the foreign investors from China, Japan, and Korea, who live in these regions, indicate significant growth potential. These investors often take advantage of their closeness to Thailand’s offerings by crossing the border to get high-quality products and services, making them a desirable target market for Thai tourism.
Pakapan-Rutten stated that the new China-Laos high-speed rail service had created new transportation opportunities, enabling Thailand to foresee an increase in travelers from northeastern China via Vientiane, Laos.
Pakapan-Rutten elaborated by indicating that the high-spending segment of Cambodia and Laos could be effectively persuaded to increase their tourism experiences in Thailand. This segment, which consists mainly of employed individuals reaping the benefits of foreign investments in their countries, has already developed a positive rapport with Thailand. Thailand is an attractive choice due to familiarity with Thai culture and the perception of high-quality, yet affordable, Thai tourism itineraries.
She explained that roughly half of Cambodian and Lao travelers chose Thailand as a leisure destination, while the remainder traveled there for medical and health checkups.
The TAT showed that Cambodian visitors spent an average of 40,500 baht per excursion and stayed an average of five nights. Comparatively, the Bangkok Post noticed that Lao tourists spend an average of 31,489 baht and stay an average of six nights.
Adith Chairattananon, the honorary secretary-general of the Association of Thai Travel Agents, proposed a visa exemption program for Chinese travelers using designated land borders, like Udon Thani from Laos and Cambodia. Chairattananon recommended the waiver based on existing demand and to further encourage travelers seeking day trips in Thailand, frequently hindered by the visa-on-arrival fee of 2,000 baht.
The enactment of a 72-hour visa-free stay in Thailand rather than the standard visa fee would result in travelers staying longer and spending more money in the country, bolstering Thai tourism. Chairattananon added that tourism operators in each province are prepared to increase their appeal by presenting more products and services with added value should this initiative be implemented.