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TAT app taps WeChat market behind China firewall

BANGKOK: The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has launched an official WeChat “Visit Thailand” application for Chinese tourists, adding the popular Mandarin Chinese language social-media platform to existing Thailand visitor information services available to mainland visitors.

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By The Phuket News

Thursday 7 September 2017, 02:34PM


TAT’s Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya (left) and Emporium and EmQuartier shopping malls Deputy Managing Director Manatase Annanwat (right) at the press conference to announce the launch of the official WeChat ‘Visit Thailand’ application on Sept 5.

TAT’s Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya (left) and Emporium and EmQuartier shopping malls Deputy Managing Director Manatase Annanwat (right) at the press conference to announce the launch of the official WeChat ‘Visit Thailand’ application on Sept 5.

The TAT’s information support network also includes its Call Centre 1672 and the online TAT Contact Centre, both already available in Mandarin Chinese, offering instant information and assistance to Chinese travellers in Thailand.

Speaking at the launch on Tuesday (Sept 5) TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn said, “The Chinese travel market is cut off and very different. It is vital, as the country’s whole online ecosystem is effectively the largest closed ‘intranet’ in the world.

“WeChat ‘Visit Thailand’ levels the playing field, giving Chinese tourists a preferred communication tool they trust in their native Mandarin dialect.”

The launch of the app enables the TAT to effectively provide Thailand’s tourism news and assistance to prospective Chinese tourists online in addition to images, voice and video-sharing options. The application also offers real-time updates on attractions, accommodation, dining venues as well as local Thai experiences from other important TAT campaigns, reported Class Act Media’s Chinese-language Puji Dao Xinwen earlier this week. (See story here.)

The app is available both in Thailand and in China, where tourists can ask for tourist information and assistance 24 hours by sending a simple text message to the application help desk.

China is Thailand’s largest tourist source market with the country welcoming 8.8 million Chinese visitors generating B430 billion in revenue in 2016, the TAT reported.

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The number of visitors arriving from China is expected to grow to nine million tourists this year and generate over B480bn in revenue – up 8% and representing 26.6% of the overall tourism revenue for the country.

Form January to July this year Thailand received 20.41mn visitors (+4.47%) who generated B1.03 trillion (+6.07%) for the economy.

Of those, 5.65mn were Chinese tourists generating B290bn, representing Thailand’s top inbound market for both total arrivals and total revenue from a single source market.

The development of the WeChat app is in response to current trend analysis into the important FIT (free independent traveller) travel sector indicating that Chinese users prefer to find travel information online using applications with Mandarin Chinese as the main language.

WeChat is currently China’s most popular social media application with 889mn active users. The figure looks set to grow as according to the China Internet Network Information Centre there were 731mn internet users in 2016, or 53.1% of the total population.

The number of internet users on mobile devices in China increased from 620mn in 2015 to 695mn in 2016.

 

 

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