BANGKOK – The number of Chinese tourists coming to Bangkok is expected to drop by 70 percent this month as the current political turmoil poses risks to the tourism market, president of the Tourism Council of Thailand Piyaman Tejapaiboon said here on Thursday.
Chinese New Year traditionally brings a boost in Chinese tourism to Thailand, while fewer tourists from China, including Hong Kong and Taiwan, are expected to celebrate the holiday here this year, he said.
The country welcomed about 100,000 Chinese tourists during the Chinese New Year last year, according to data.
As to the first month of this year, with the Spring Festival falling on Jan. 31, Bangkok would be hit the hardest with a 70 percent drop in Chinese tourist arrivals, followed by Chiang Mai, Pattaya and Phuket with 40 percent drop, respectively, Piyaman said.
Sugree Sithivanich, deputy governor for marketing communications at the Tourism Authority of Thailand expressed concern about the decline in short-haul passengers during Chinese New Year amid the political chaos, adding that safety is among their key concerns.
Chanapan Kaewklachaiyawuth, secretary-general of the Thai- Chinese Tourism Alliance Association, said the street rally would scare off the Chinese travelers until March.
Chinese citizens in Thailand, especially in Bangkok, have been urged to keep away from rally sites during the planned operation to shut down the capital from Jan. 13.
In a statement posted on its website Wednesday, the Chinese embassy in Thailand asked Chinese citizens to keep a close eye on the local situation and avoid involvement in the protest.
Anti-government protesters are expected to shut down major streets in the capital from Jan. 13, and the embassy urged Chinese citizens to leave early for airports and take rail transportation.
Chinese citizens can contact the embassy for protection when in need, said the statement.