Thai Operators See Signs of Revival in Chinese Market

Tour operators and airlines have seen positive signs from the Chinese market as the country focuses more on promoting tourism and easing flight restrictions for Thai airlines.

The Thai Travel Agent Association head Charoen Wangananot explained that tourism authorities continue to launch campaigns and promotions related to China despite there being no signs that the country will fully reopen.

Some events include the China Tourism and Culture Weeks, set to be held in Bangkok from September 8. It is the first similar activity in two years, suggesting that China wants to promote tourism exchanges with Thailand again as long as conditions allow the country to maintain its zero Covid policy.

Mr. Charoen said that South China, Macau and Hong Kong could be selected as the first area to reopen with relaxed restrictions, as their tourism organizations have started to actively promote their destinations to travelers.

If Hong Kong and Macau reopen to tourists in the fourth quarter, visitors will be exempted from the current mandatory quarantine, he added.

According to the Travel Agents Association’s president, countries that used to attract a million Thai tourists have started to actively promote their destinations despite border controls.

“They don’t want to miss the boat when they fully reopen in the upcoming high season,” Mr. Charoed went on.

Meanwhile, the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA)’s president Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn said the organization had met with Taiwan’s transport minister last week. Officials revealed that tourist exchanges with Thailand could resume in October or November.

Southern cities such as Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Zhuhai are expected to welcome tourists again before or around the Chinese New Year in January. However, it’s still unclear which areas of mainland China might reopen first.

Airlines such as Thai Lion Air and Thai AirAsia only have a few flights to China right now and have seen limited quota in recent months. However, they all hope to provide more services to the country in the near future and plan to add new routes in August and September.