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AOT anticipates 8 million arrivals of Chinese tourists in 2024

February 5, 2024 Thailand Industry Updates

Thanks to the visa waiver program, the president of Thailand’s state-owned airports (AOT) said on Thursday that the organization anticipates 8 million Chinese tourists arriving in 2024.

This estimate takes into account the recent mutual agreement between China and Thailand to remove entry restrictions requiring a visa for each country’s citizens, with Thailand having done so late last year for Chinese nationals.

Thailand, the second-biggest economy in Southeast Asia, is placing its bets on a rebound in travel, particularly from China, which used to be a significant source market. Out of 28 million foreign visitors to Thailand last year, barely 3.5 million came from China, despite the country’s laxer admission restrictions. In 2023, tourism brought in 1.2 trillion baht, or $33.86 billion.

This figure is insignificant compared to Thailand’s pre-pandemic peak of almost 40 million arrivals in 2019—11 million of whom came from China—and their cumulative expenditure of 1.91 trillion baht ($53.89 billion).

According to AOT, which runs six airports in Thailand, including the important Suvarnabhumi gateway, it is ready for the anticipated rise in traveler volume. AOT President Kerati Kijmanawat promised in a statement that despite the anticipated 200% increase in flights during the Lunar New Year holidays, the admission processes would go smoothly.

The government seems to be hopeful about the tourism industry’s recovery as it projects 34 million foreign tourists this year.

Original story by: Business Standard

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