The recommendations came from Chanthanin Jongphadungsak, a PhD undergraduate of Burapha University, who through the university conducted research project aimed at identifying key needs to be met in order to lure more Chinese FITs.
The recommendations were derived from interviews and questionnaire surveys of Thai government officials, private business operators and even Chinese tourists who visited Thailand.
Mr Chanthanin presented the conclusions from his research at a conference held at the Royal Phuket City Hotel yesterday (Sept 3), presided over by Phuket Vice Governor Prakob Wongmaneerung.
Also present for the presentation, titled “Ways to respond to ‘Free and Independent Traveler’ (FIT) from China”, were Asst Prof Dr Saranya Lertputtarak of the Graduate School of Commerce at Burapha University, as well as government officers, tour operators and other representatives from the private sector.
Mr Chanthanin explained that results of the research were analysed and presented to government officers and business operators in order to discuss and suggest how to develop the tourism in Thailand to specifically cater to the Chinese FIT tourist group.
Among the topics presented, safety was a key issue, Mr Chanthanin noted.
“Also public transportation, and visa applications and extensions, have to be improved,” he said.
“The government should set up a system to examine illegal tour operators, as well as tax refunds from rural tourism in order to distribute income to rural areas,” he added.
“Tourists should experience the local cultures and new attractions, and the government should also examine the quality of foods and prices displayed,” Mr Chanthanin noted.
“The cleanliness of tourist destinations, restaurants and toilets should be improved too,” he said.
“Additionally, when something bad happen to tourists, there should be a system that can immediately contact the people directly involved in and those responsible for handling the incident.
“The punishment for tour operators should be harsher if they force their customers to buy their tours or products,” Mr Chanthanin said.
“For the private sector, Chinese-speaking training should be provided to hospitality staff. There should be promotion of new tourist attractions and apps created exclusively for Chinese tourists so they may be able to book tour guides or hotel rooms directly,” Mr Chanthanin added.
“According to interviews conducted, Chinese tourists love to make their payments through Wachat Pay, Ali Pay and Union Pay, as if they are in their country,” he explained.
“The government and the private sector have to discuss (these issues) and work together to further develop Phuket tourism,” Mr Chanthanin said.