The tragedy has devastated the number of bookings from Mainland China, with the number of Chinese arrivals in July up only 0.04% year-on-year after a 20% rise in June, said Yuthasak Supakorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).
While the TAT is maintaining its arrivals projection from China at 10 million this year, Mr Yuthasak said he would fly to Beijing in mid-August to discuss improving safety and security measures, particularly in marine tourism, with top officials from the China National Tourism Administration and the Culture Ministry.
China has become the largest source market for Thailand’s tourism industry and is projected to contribute B200 billion in revenue this year.
During the first five months, Chinese tourists already generated B100bn thanks to the rise in independent travellers, who spend more, on average, than those coming in groups.
The TAT also plans to ask tourism authorities and operators in China to help strengthen and restore two-way travel between Thailand and China, as well as take part in joint marketing campaigns.
Mr Yuthasak expressed hope that Chinese tourist numbers would return to normal during the Golden Week holidays (Oct 1-7).
He said he would push for the establishment of a national tourism safety centre to oversee and manage crises more efficiently.
The establishment of that body is pending approval from the Tourism and Sports Ministry.
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