Spring Airlines Flight 9C8667 direct from Shanghai landed at Phuket International Airport at 6:20pm, reported Phuket officials.
On hand to welcome those disembarking from the Airbus A320 at Gate 15 of the International Passenger Terminal were Phuket International Airport General Manager Monchai Tanode and Tourism Authority of Thailand Phuket office (TAT Phuket) Director Nanthasiri Ronnasiri, along with leading Immigration officers, International Communicable Disease Control officials as well as representatives from the Phuket Tourist Association and from Spring Airlines.
Following the arrival of the Sprng Airlines flight the Airbus 320 of Juneyao Air Flight HO1321 also direct from Shanghai landed at Phuket International Airport at 8:50pm.
“Following the announcement that Chinese citizens would be allowed to travel outside China from Jan 8, many airlines from China expressed interest in flying to Phuket and have requested to add their flights to the flight schedule,” Ms Nanthasiri said.
“Yuthasak Supasorn, the Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, predicts that there will be about 300,000 Chinese tourists [in the first quarter of 2023], with a market share of about 17% in Phuket,” she said.
Ms Nanthasiri noted that in 2019 Chinese were the “number one tourists” travelling to Thailand, with 17,695,489 arrivals from China entering the country.
“For Phuket, there were 3,118,901 Chinese tourists coming in, making it the largest target market,” she said.
“This will help the tourism sector of Thailand [as a whole] as well, because Chinese tourists enjoy boat tours and shopping for Thai products a lot,” she added.
“Phuket is one of the most popular destinations for Chinese people to travel to, and we are ready in terms of the number of rooms, variety of tourism products and services, department stores and spas, which all meet the needs of Chinese tourists,” Ms Nanthasiri continued.
“In addition, Chinese people have a desire to travel abroad due to travel restrictions during the COVID epidemic over the past two years [sic],” she said.
“During that time, the five TAT offices in China ‒ in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Kunming and Hong Kong ‒ have continued their marketing efforts to make Thailand a ‘Top of Mind’ destination for Chinese tourists,” Ms Nanthasiri said.
“This first group of tourists who have arrived have different travel behavior than before. They mostly arriving on self-managed travel, and is a group of middle- to upper-level income brackets,” she said.