Tourists visit Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok, Thailand (Source: Xinhua/VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) –
Thailand’s tourism sector is expected to get a windfall from the trade war between China and the US as Chinese tourists are looking to shorten their long haul flights to visit closer destinations instead.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) offices in Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Kunming have been successful in promoting Thai tourism to these cities. Close to 10.5 million Chinese tourists travelled to Thailand last year, which is forecast to reach 11.6 million this year.

TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn said that assessments conducted by five TAT offices in China found that yuan appreciation and trade conflicts with the US were the key factors which could deter Chinese from travelling further abroad.

The TAT office in Shanghai has promoted summer camp packages in Chiang Mai by forging partnerships with four local travel agencies, he said.

Chiang Mai’s summer camp programme features three main activities: experiencing the life of local people, studying English language, and cultural exchanges with Thai people.

Visa policies could entice more visitors from China, such as waivers of visa-on-arrival fees and e-visas, as well as longer-stay visas, he said.

Thailand introduced an e-visa service this year but is still struggling with the system. The links need to be worked out quickly to ensure a better travel experience for tourists.

Apart from luring more Chinese tourists, the TAT will focus more on the short-haul market, especially quality tourists, according to Yuthasak.

The agency plans to sign deals with large Chinese companies such as China Travel and Alipay of Ant Financial Services Group to cooperate on facilitating Chinese tourists in Thailand.

The TAT expects at least 2 million more Chinese tourists from cooperation with each of these two companies.

Yuthasak conceded that other Asian countries would also benefit from the trade war, meaning competition to lure Chinese travellers to their countries could be fierce.–VNA