and investigation Last year, Chinese travelers said they were most interested in visiting Europe, Australia, Canada, Japan and South Korea.
But that’s not what they’re aiming for — at least not yet.
Flight restrictions, visa issues, immigration rules just aimed at them Complicating the issue for Chinese residents ready to travel abroad.
According to Trip.com Group’s Chinese-language booking website Ctrip, Chinese travelers preferred Southeast Asia for their trips during the Lunar New Year holiday, which ended in early February.
Travel bookings by non-mainland Chinese residents increased 640% from last year’s holiday period, with Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Chiang Mai, Manila and Bali being the top destinations, according to Ctrip data.
International hotel bookings by mainland Chinese travelers have also quadrupled since last year, according to Ctrip. But one place stood out. In Bangkok, “holiday hotels have grown more than 33 times his,” Ctrip said.
Thomas Lee, senior director of international business operations at Trip.com Group, said Thailand is also the frontrunner for Chinese tour groups so far.
Ctrip’s first group tour departed on Feb. 7, with travelers heading to Bangkok and the nearby seaside town of Pattaya, Lee said.
The Maldives is the second most popular spot for group tours, followed by Egypt, he said.
China resumed group tours sponsored by travel agencies on February 6. Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Laos, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Hungary, Cuba, Russia.
Group travel to Japan, South Korea and Vietnam is not yet permitted.
The main reason Chinese tourists choose to go to Thailand is the ease with which they can enter the country, said Thai Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul.squawk box asia” Monday.
“After all, we were able to open up the country with minimal restrictions,” he said.
He said Thailand “has tried every possible way to ensure that not only Chinese tourists, but tourists from all over the world can come to our country to spend their holidays.” said.
A day after China eased its borders in early January, Thailand announced it would require vaccinations for all visitors entering the country.
But within days, Thai authorities abandoned the rule and Amid mounting anger from China against the country imposing new rules on its residents.
Charnvirakul said Thailand’s policy U-turn is about science and not a concern for upsetting Chinese tourists, adding: “More than 75% of our people [Covid] Antibodies from both vaccination and infection. “
He said 12 to 15 million of the 30 million tourists Thailand expects this year could come from China.
“Chinese tourists are very important to our tourism industry,” said Charnvirakul.
Chinese aren’t the only ones choosing Thailand as a holiday destination.
Russia was Thailand’s seventh-largest tourism market in 2019, according to Reuters, but in November 2022, Russian visitors will be third in terms of tourist arrivals, behind those from Malaysia and India. was. In the second half of 2022, one in four visitors to Phuket will be Russian, said Yusasak Supathorn, director general of the Tourism Authority of Thailand. Reuters article.
Russians thought tourism options were minimized in 2022. Many countries have suspended travel to and from Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
“The biggest concern for customers right now is visa issues,” said Lee of Trip.com Group.
Chinese travelers have been blocked from getting visas to South Korea, Japan and others after both countries halted visa processing over concerns over China’s recent Covid-19 surge. South Korea announced last week that it would do so. bottom Resume issuing short-term visas According to Reuters, to Chinese travelers.
Elsewhere, due to high demand, Chinese residents face long wait times to obtain visas. Before the pandemic, visa applications to enter the EU were processed in a matter of days, but now applicants face the challenges they face. Up to 2 months waiting timeaccording to the website SchengenVisaInfo.com.
Aside from visas, Li said Chinese travelers are also worried about getting sick.
That’s why group tours are mostly booked by travelers “from the 90s and from the 80s,” he said, referring to Chinese generation terms that refer to people born in the 1990s and 1980s respectively. .
Rising travel prices may be less of a concern for some Chinese travelers.
A report released by Morgan Stanley on Feb. Rising demand for luxury and luxury hotels among Chinese consumers.
Interest in luxury hotels jumped from 18% to 34% from 2022 to 2023, but “references to budget and mid-range hotels declined overall,” according to the report.
More travelers expect hotel stays to be the top travel expense, rising from 17% in 2017 to 20% in 2023.
Travelers may need to be willing and open their wallets, even in places like Thailand that have long been popular with backpackers and budget travelers.
Average hotel booking prices in Bangkok jumped about 70% in late January, according to Ctrip.