BANGKOK – TripAdvisor has a new initiative to attract Chinese holiday shoppers in Thailand. Thailand has already been the most popular foreign destination for Chinese tourists, aside from Hong Kong and Macau. In 2016, 8.7 million Chinese tourists traveled to Thailand and 2017 is on track to surpass this.
According to the Thai Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Chinese tourist arrivals are expected to reach 9.5 million. Thailand is proving to be popular across both high and middle-income Chinese travelers and high-end retail is a proving a popular attraction for these Chinese tourists.
Moreover, 27 percent of Thailand’s tourist revenue is derived from Chinese tourist spending, making China Thailand’s largest tourist source market.
In an effort to further spur retail spending by Chinese visitors, five Thai retail operators have finalized an agreement with the travel review site, TripAdvisor, to promote sales directly to consumers. The retailers include four major shopping mall operators: The Mall Group, Siam Piwat Group, Terminal 21, and Central Group.
Additionally, Thailand’s largest duty-free retailer, King Power, has also joined up with TripAdvisor. King Power has a 12,000 square meter duty-free shopping complex in downtown Bangkok as well as branches at Thailand’s major airports.
While many Chinese tourists travel to Thailand and other destinations on tour groups. There is an increasing number of wealthier and younger Chinese travelers, Chinese free independent travelers (FITs), going abroad.
FITs tend to favor doing their own research on destinations and shopping options and TripAdvisor and these Thai retailers hope to tap into this demographic, who often have higher levels of disposable income.
These Thai retailers are hoping that by using one of the world’s top travel review sites they can do a better job of disseminating their shopping options to Chinese travelers and compete with both domestic and international offerings. TripAdvisor will now include a shopping category with information on the retail operators, including promotions, recommendations, and shopping guides.
Volume of tourists is less of a concern to the Thai government. Thai authorities cracked down on Chinese zero-dollar tours last year in an attempt to boost per capita spending by Chinese tourists and the government hopes to attract more rich Chinese travelers.
This new agreement with TripAdvisor fits well within the government’s macro tourist goals of boosting spending from independent, wealthy Chinese visitors.
By Mason Hinsdale