333 at the beach
Carnival Magic 333 at the beach Pro Property Partners British International School, Phuket
The Phuket News Novosti Phuket Khao Phuket

Login | Create Account | Search


Phuket can accommodate Chinese tour groups, says tourism chief

Phuket can accommodate Chinese tour groups, says tourism chief

BUSINESS: Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, advisory chairman of the Phuket Tourist Association, has said the private sector should be able to adjust workflow to accommodate a new wave of Chinese tour groups.

Chinesetourism
By Bangkok Post

Saturday 21 January 2023, 03:52PM


Tourists from China dressed in traditional Thai costumes visit Wat Arun in Bangkok on Wednesday (Jan 18) ahead of the Chinese New Year. Photo: Bangkok Post

Tourists from China dressed in traditional Thai costumes visit Wat Arun in Bangkok on Wednesday (Jan 18) ahead of the Chinese New Year. Photo: Bangkok Post

However, he urged the government to immediately solve “bottleneck issues” such as the slow approval of flight slots and the shortfall of ground handling services, which caused delays at the airport.

Mr Bhummikitti said as Chinese tourists will also come via the China-Laos railway in the near future, border immigration offices must be ready in terms of staff and counters, as well as digitising TM6 immigration cards to save time at entry points, reports the Bangkok Post.

As airfares remain expensive, most independent Chinese tourists this year will be those with high purchasing power, he said.

When tour groups are allowed to venture out, increasing flights will lead to more affordable prices, which could match tour demand, said Mr Bhummikitti.

“Some 20% of hotels in Phuket that were closed because of the lack of Chinese tour groups will eventually reopen,” said Suksit Suvunditkul, president of the southern chapter of the Thai Hotels Association (THA).

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) estimated 5 million Chinese visitors this year, and Mr Suksit predicts 1.5mn will visit Phuket.

His comments came after Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha suggested China will soon allow tour groups to visit Thailand, which could lead to more hotels reopening and higher demand for bus tours.

Prayut said on Thursday (Jan 19) at a Chinese New Year event in Ratchaburi that Beijing indicated Thailand will be among the first destinations approved for outbound tour groups, while the TAT confirmed yesterday that Chinese groups are allowed to visit Thailand and 19 other nations from Feb 6.

Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn, president of the Association of Thai Travel Agents, said travel agents in Thailand and China are prepared to start group sales while waiting for an official announcement from Beijing.

Thai Residential

However, he said it would take time for airlines to increase flights between Thailand and large cities in China to allow a large number of Chinese tour groups, likely in the second quarter.

Tourism operators have to urgently hire more staff, especially Chinese speakers to accommodate not only Chinese tourists, but also those from Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, he said.

Wasuchet Sophonsathien, president of the Thai Transportation Operators Association, said there are 10,000-15,000 buses for tour groups, but with Chinese groups expected to return, demand is expected to increase to 40,000, a similar level as in 2019.

He said bus operators still have insufficient budget for maintenance and face a shortage of drivers.

The association earlier proposed to the Finance Ministry a subsidy scheme to help partly absorb the B500,000 in maintenance costs per bus. It also asked the Labour Ministry for a scheme to help hire at least 3,000 drivers for six months.

Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi, THA president, urged the government to regulate accommodations without hotel licences, as well as work to prevent unfavourable impacts from mass tourism, such as limiting the carrying capacity at tourist attractions.

In the long term, the country should focus on high-spending travellers by promoting medical and wellness tourism as well as the Mice (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) segment, said Mrs Marisa.

The site Trip.com reported searches from China for tour packages during the Lunar New Year surged six-fold, with Thailand one of the most-searched destinations, said Boon Sian Chai, managing director and vice-president, international markets at Trip.com Group.

Accommodation and attractions bookings by Chinese tourists also soared by 447% and 10 times year-on-year.

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

* (Not Hotmail/Outlook)
CAPTCHA

Old guy | 25 January 2023 - 12:45:25

More ignorant officials 
We can handle more Chinese tourists even though no staffs, inadequate sewer systems, no active traffic control, etc. 

 

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
DSI fight for remaining prime Phuket beachfront land continues

Meanwhile the last of Layan's wetlands has been filled in- ruining the public road- for yet mor...(Read More)


DSI fight for remaining prime Phuket beachfront land continues

This required a second read through and from I glean the DSI 's main goal is not prosecution bu...(Read More)


Police chief steps into bribes row

Must be easy to start a weekly edition of a Thai National Corruption & Bribe Newspaper. Sure wee...(Read More)


Former immigration chiefs to face bribery charges

dont blame the agents - its the people who use them which feeds the corruption many of which who ref...(Read More)


Jet-ski, parasail operators fined B10k per vessel at Surin Beach

What a miserable critical life you must lead John- never a positive word about anything....(Read More)


DSI fight for remaining prime Phuket beachfront land continues

So, all land encroachers have no risk as if they are wrong, they will not be prosecuted in court, pa...(Read More)


Phuket Opinion: Let’s make a deal

Most likely pissed off the wrong wealthy well connected "businessman/men" by not giving th...(Read More)


Phuket Opinion: Let’s make a deal

Great Opinion piece again. That 'throwing a rock in the air' express a lot if not everything...(Read More)


Jet-ski, parasail operators fined B10k per vessel at Surin Beach

Both should be banned at all beaches. Dangerous to bathers in the water and people relaxing on the b...(Read More)


Jet-ski, parasail operators fined B10k per vessel at Surin Beach

@Oldguy. 'During' used to be a thriving entertainment area? Where's that then?...(Read More)