China is the number one source of tourists travelling to Thailand. More than four million Chinese visited Thailand in the first 10 months of last year, according to the Tourism and Sports Ministry. The Foreign Ministry permanent secretary Sihasak Phuangketkeow visited Beijing and talked about a visa-free agreement to be made. And now, a recent announcement from the China Ministry of Foreign Affairs states that negotiation with Thailand government regarding this said visa-free agreement is finished and will be signed soon. With the visa-free agreement in the near future, what could Thailand brands do to attract Chinese tourists in their homeland?
Chinese tourists love shopping, a well-known fact of the different countries all over the world. The Thai Shopping Centers Association (TSCA) has announced a new policy aimed at boosting Thailand to become the ASEAN region’s No. 1 in retail and tourism. Its goal is to turn Thailand into a regional shopping hub to become a world-class tourist destination and a shopping paradise. Big operators of shopping centres who are TSCA members are planning to invest a huge amount in new mega projects from 2014 onwards. These planned mega projects are targeted to be globally recognized and will be located in different areas across Thailand, including renowned shopping streets, for the city to become a fully-fledged shopping destination for tourists. The TSCA is also targeting to offer name brands and luxury products at a more competitive price, with the Ministry of Finance announcing that it will cut Thailand’s import tariff on luxury goods, more specifically luxury watches, clothes, and cosmetics, from 30 percent to zero.
Thailand’s SET Index jumped 3.6 percent, as Minor (MINT) International Pcl led gains among tourism-related stocks on optimism the tax reduction will boost travel demand. The government will discuss the plan with local retailers first to ensure they aren’t adversely affected by the measure. This move is also Thailand’s way to compete with Hong Kong and Singapore for wealthy travellers from markets including China.
Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Southeast Asia: the history, unique culture, crystal blue beaches, great food, thick jungle, beach front bungalows, and some of the best luxury hotels in the world. There is something for every budget.
The Top 5 Tourist Attractions in Thailand include:
- Ko Phi Phi. Ko Phi Phi is a small archipelago in the Krabi Province in Southern Thailand. Touted to be one of the most beautiful yet accessible island groups in the world, the area has something for everyone, from sunbathers to compulsive adrenaline junkies.
- Koh Tao. Koh Tao, which literally means Turtle Island, is a small island near the Gulf of Thailand. It is known as one of the most popular destinations in the world to learn to dive.
- Phang Nga Bay. It is one of the most scenic areas in Thailand. It consists of beautiful caves, aquatic grottoes, and limestone islands. This is where the famous “James Bond Island” is also found. A popular way of visiting Phang Nga Bay is by kayak, as it is the only way to get inside the grottoes and sea caves.
- Railay. Railay beach or Rai Leh is a small peninsula that is only accessible by boat due to high limestone cliffs cutting off mainland access. The cliffs attract rock climbers all over the globe and the peninsula is very famous due to its beautiful beaches and quiet relaxing atmosphere.
- Chiang Mai Night Bazaar. The Night Bazaar sprawls along several city blocks along footpaths, inside buildings, and temple grounds. It has almost every product you could think of and holds some well-appointed modern shopping centers as well.
The government is expecting tourist arrivals to surge by 18 percent to 26.4 million this year. “We will do it fast because we want it to help boost the economy this year,” Somchai Sujjapongse, head of the finance ministry’s Fiscal Policy Office said. Thailand’s tourism and services industries account for 50 percent of gross domestic product.
Thailand wins back Chinese tourists after the recent turmoil.
There is little doubt that this strategy is part of a bigger plan to win back the heart of the Chinese tourists after the unfortunate events that struck the country, scaring away a large part of this clientèle vital for the local tourism.