On 19 August, 2015, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) headed a high-level discussion between Thai and Chinese officials about the actions and measures to facilitate and assist Chinese tourists in Thailand.
Mrs. Juthaporn Rerngronasa, TAT’s Acting Governor and Deputy Governor for International Marketing (Europe, Africa, Middle East and Americas), along with officials from the Tourist Police Division, the Metropolitan Police Bureau, and the Immigration Bureau met with Ms. Liu Yao Hui, Director of the China National Tourist Office – Singapore and Ms. Sun Si Fei, Third Secretary of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Kingdom of Thailand.
During the meeting, the Thai delegations updated that in a swift response to the recent incident, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports assigned multilingual interpreters, especially those who speak Mandarin, along with officers from the Ministry and the Tourist Police Division to a service point at all hospitals, who are treating victims and can provide assistance to all the affected tourists and families.
The Thai delegations also informed the Chinese officials that the Royal Thai Police in collaboration with the Royal Thai Armed Forces has increased their presence and put extra security in place at all of Bangkok’s key attractions and venues popular with tourists. Tightened security is also being introduced at key destinations across the country to provide extra care for tourists and locals.
Mrs. Juthaporn commented on the discussion with the Chinese officials, stating that “The meeting is to ensure our Chinese friends as well as all friends of Thailand that everyone in the kingdom is doing everything possible to provide safety and security as well as providing support to all tourists in our country. Thailand is known for the friendliness and hospitality of the Thai people; hence, the name “The Land of Smiles” was inherited. Our hearts go out to all the affected people and their families of this event. I would like to express our heartfelt thanks for the overwhelming support from our friends from around the world, which makes us proud as we continue to welcome tourists to Thailand.”
TAT will continue with its marketing and promotion strategies planned for the Chinese market for this year. They include the Romance in Thailand project that consists of around 40 couples and 30 media from the People’s Republic of China, which will be held during the latter part of this week in Ko Samui and Bangkok. TAT is supporting the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) who will conduct a roadshow to Hangzhou and Chengdu on 31 August and 2 September, 2015.
Overall, Chinese visitors are the biggest source of both visitors and expenditure for Thailand, totalling four million arrivals in first six months of this year, up 111 per cent over 1.89 million in the same period of 2014, with an expenditure of 190.9 billion Baht, up 138.9 per cent over 79.9 billion Baht in January-June 2014.
So far, tour operators and professionals indicate that cancellations are affecting hotels and tour packages. However, the impact seems minimal at around 5% of the total volume of travel. Most professionals estimate that if no more casualties occur, tourism should bounce back rapidly after a few weeks and just on time for the peak season at the end of October.
(Photo: SILOM NIGHT MARKET, AUGUST 20, 2015)