Young Chinese travelers seek authentic local experiences
Research by Hotels.com shows that young Chinese travelers are fueling a boom in independent travel and experience-based tourism as more and more shun large tour groups and prefer to taste exotic local delicacies (69 percent) and shopping at local markets authentic local items (43 percent) to shopping for luxury items (38 per cent). More than one third (37 percent) of travelers still plan to visit countries they have been to before but will go to different cities as they seek new authentic local experiences. Thailand remains attractive for its welcoming aspect due to the widespread acceptance of Chinese mobile wallets, signage in Chinese, and ease of information.
Customs cleared exports grew for the 17th straight month, reaching a seven-year high reaching 8.3 percent year-on-year in July, valued at 662 billion baht, this after growing 8.2 percent in June and 11.4 percent in May. The Middle East and the United States were the only two markets that didnít show growth while exports to Asean, India, South Asia, Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Japan all saw double digit growth. Trade with Thailandís Free Trade Agreement partners, Asean, China, Japan, Australia and India, grew 14.2 percent. Agricultural products grew 3.2 percent overall with strong growth in sugar peaking at over 41 percent, canned tuna at 21 percent, oil related products over 36 percent and automobile and computer products grew by over 11 percent each. In the first seven months of 2018 exports grew 10.6 percent with a total value of US$146.23 billion. Despite the trade conflicts between China and the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) predicts exports will grow 10 percent in 2018.
The Foreign Trade Department launched eleven digital services to make export and import easier for businesses and reduce processing times and costs. The services launched include e-Register, which lets importers and exporters ask for a license via the electronic system; Rules of Origin Verification Systems, which verify the rules of origin for export and import goods that are entitled to privileges under FTAs or the GSP. Other services include e-CO, which provides Rules of Origin certification for products under FTAs or GSP, the rules of origin database and details of customs tariffs under Asean FTAs and trading partners, and the e-license which offers license and certification for export and import goods via the electronic system. The new digital service also offers electronic linkage to the National Single Window (NSW), a customs portal that pools the import license approvals for all 33 related agencies in a single place.
The Customs Department announced plans to introduce a digital payment system for small packages valued at over 1500 baht, previously packages that were valued at more than 1500 baht required the recipient to travel to Laksi Post Office to pay the duty and pick up the package. The new system, which the implementation date has not yet been given, will allow recipients to pay online and then the package will be delivered by the Post Office. Packages valued at less than 1500 baht do not require any duty to be paid. The Customs Department will be x-raying packages to ensure senders do not falsify values and also screen for illegal substances. The Customs Department plans on going after to vendors who falsify values, by developing a big data system to scrutinize importers that have suspicious behavior related to avoiding tax payments. Those who make false declarations will have to settle their cases in court rather than with the Customs Department officials.