It seems that the recent incident with the sunken boat in the island has led to Chinese tourists avoiding the Phuket boat charter and the country itself for their trips. This is according to Vichi Prakobkosol, President of the Association of Thai Travel Agents (Atta), who expects that this shift in demand would lead to the Kingdom losing about B2.1b in revenue from China, calculated from average spending of B6,000/head/day or B42,000 for a week-long trip.
Atta warned that the number of Chinese tourists to Thailand would drop by at least 10% during the Chinese National Holiday or Golden Week, which starts at October 1 annually then runs until October 7.
The Phuket boat charter tragedy that struck the island in July, which was then followed by dengue fever epidemic in Thailand as well as an incident of an airport official at the Don Mueang airport attacking a Chinese tourist in early September have damaged the country’s reputation as a tourism destination.
He says that the boat accident in Phuket is most likely the major factor in the reduction in Chinese tourists, which was followed by a number of tour cancellations while airline and charter operations in China have omitted Thailand from their seasonal trip schedules.
Mr. Vichit has said that Chinese tourists are option for other destinations like Japan and South Korea in the three months following the incident, which prompted the Chinese government to issue travel advisories on Thailand, as well as asking their travellers to avoid Phuket and other islands in the Kingdom.
This is problematic as the Golden Week is the key point of the year where Chinese tourists visit Thailand in droves. Chaiya Rapuepon, President of Andaman Tourism Business Association, implored the government to improve the safety and security in the islands and across the country in order to restore the confidence of travellers from China. He says that, if tourists see clear preventive and security plans, they will likely return to the country in the remaining months of the year.
Current expectations forecast that 7 million Chinese tourists will head for the Golden Week period, which is up from 6 million in the same time in the same time in 2017. China Tourism Academy meanwhile, reported that 71.3mn Chinese made overseas trips during the first half of 2018 which is a 15% from the prior year.