Thailand top destination for Chinese tourists at Chinese New Year
Chinese arrivals during the Chinese New Year period are expected to grow as the Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) estimates that 5.93 million passengers will travel through its six international airports during the Chinese New Year holiday, with airlines set to operate 35,000 flights in total. Suvarnabhumi is expected to see 2.63 million passengers, Don Mueang is predicted to see 1.61 million passengers, Phuket is third with 920,000 expected passengers and Chiang Mai with half a million. According to the Chinese travel site CTrip Thailand is the number one destination for Chinese travelers this Chinese New Year. Overall the TAT predicts that Thailand will see 41.1 million international arrivals in 2019 generating 2.21 trillion baht in revenues, this up from the 38.3 million arrivals in 2018 and a 10 percent rise from the 2.10 trillion baht in revenues in 2018. Domestic tourism also grew in 2018 to 226 million trips earning 1.07 trillion baht in revenues. Of the predicted 41.1 million tourists, 11.69 million are expected to be Chinese, an 11 percent jump from 2018, up ten percent to 11.31 million from ASEAN and 2 percent rise to 6.9 million from Europe.
The Thai government has opened e-visa online applications for visas on arrival with VFS Global to help design and develop E-VOA and e-Payment channels. The E-VOA will allow citizens of twenty countries to obtain their Visa on Arrival online before arrival; China, India, Andorra, Bulgaria, Bhutan, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Romania, Marino, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan to Taiwan.
VFS Global has also developed a fast-track service at Suvarnabhumi Airport, allowing passengers to hand in their passports without filling information to immigration officials for the visa. Passengers who purchase tickets through Thai Airways and Thai Smile websites and THAI’s mobile app can apply for Thailand E-Visa On Arrival from anywhere, any day and 24 hours a day by clicking on the menu “Thailand E-Visa On Arrival”. The new service will be launched on February 14, the VOA fee of 2,000 baht has been waived until April 30.
Thai e-commerce was the fastest growing in ASEAN in 2018 according to the Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA). Thailand has 45.2 million internet users with a growing number of buyers and sellers online. Online digital marketing has grown 69.92 percent since 2017, mainly through Facebook. E-commerce grew 160 billion from 2016 to 2017 and that growth is expected to continue as Thai consumers turn to more and more online shopping and Thai logistics services enter the market and improve delivery services. Consumers are increasingly turning to e-payment platforms as well. The ETDA suggests e-tailers consider expanding overseas to Vietnam, Indonesia, India, and China where Thai cosmetics, and food products are popular.