Thailand tops list as most popular destination for Chinese tourists in first six months
Thailand topped the list as the most popular destination for Chinese tourists in the first half of 2018 according to a report from the China Tourism Academy and online travel booking site C-Trip with 5.9 million Chinese tourists visiting in the first half of the year. Overall 71.3 million Chinese tourists visited 130 countries in the first half, a 15 percent year on year rise. Thailand came in first followed by Japan, Vietnam, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Russia, the US, and Cambodia. New destinations with fast growth include Serbia, Laos, Belgium, Vietnam, Sweden, Turkey, Russia, Myanmar, Cambodia and Finland. Thailand saw a total of 19.4 million tourists in the first six months, up 12 percent from the same period last year, Chinese tourists accounted for 5.9 million of those, up 26 percent. The survey found that while most Chinese prefer to travel in groups, the younger Chinese tourists prefer to travel by themselves, and 53 percent of travelers are female and 47 percent male. Travelers using the site were split evenly between group tours and independent travel with a huge jump in travelers requesting private trips and cuisine related tours and more seeking an experience rather than shopping.
The MRTA has been approved to invest in and operate mass-transit light rail projects in Chiang Mai and Phuket – PhangNga. The two projects will see public and private investment and the project for Chiang Mai, which will link the downtown district with the airport was fast tracked last October, the Phuket line will link Surat Thani on the Gulf Coast with Phang Nga and Phuket ending in Chalong in Phuket. A new high-speed rail line linking the Don Mueang International Airport, Suvarnabhumi International Airport and U-tapao Airport is expected to be kick-started next year. Also scheduled to begin construction next year are the new inland container depot for shipping-based cargo, new electric train routes, the U-tapao expansion, and the third phase of Map Ta Phut and Laem Chabang port development.
The University of Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) raised its forecast of Thailand’s economic growth this year to 4.6 percent from an earlier estimate of 4.5 percent on the back of growth in the export rate, tourism and crop prices. Spending in the upcoming elections is expected to spur the economy and the SET rose on the announcement of the election date being set. The UTCC predicts that Thai exports will grow by 8.7 percent and imports will rise by 12.6 percent. The country’s current account surplus is expected to reach of US$34.6 billion and the baht is expected to hover between 31.5 to 33.5 to the US dollar.