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TAT confident of return to normal travel between Thailand and China

Visitor arrivals from China are expected to return to normal levels following a successful visit to…

Visitor arrivals from China are expected to return to normal levels following a successful visit to Beijing and Kunming by a high-level business development delegation led by the Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Somkid Jatusripitak.

The visit, which included senior executives of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) was designed to recoup trade, investment and travel in the aftermath of the SARS crisis.

Undertaken between June 15-19, 2003, the visit was in response to an invitation from the Chinese government.

TAT Governor Mrs. Juthamas Siriwan said, This was a very important visit for us because it gave us a chance to look ahead and explore ways to rebuild relationships after the temporary disruption caused by the SARS crisis.

In 2002, Chinese arrivals to Thailand increased by 9.82% to 763,139, making China the third largest source of arrivals after Malaysia and Japan. The numbers fell sharply during the SARS crisis; arrivals from China at Bangkok International Airport during January-May 2003 totalled 223,001, a fall of 33% over the same period of 2002.

Now that the SARS health advisories and World Health Organization travel warnings have been lifted, TAT is projecting that growth will resume strongly and allow it to reach the target of 830,000 from China this year.

During the visit by the Thai delegation, eight Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) were signed between TAT and representatives of public and private organisations from Yunnan, Kunming and Beijing. The two sides discussed the following issues:

  • Increased arrivals from China to Thailand for meetings and incentives.
  • The issue of Zero-Cost Tours and ways to eliminate this problem by improving the quality and standards of existing tours. The two sides discussed setting stringent standards for the quality and services to be provided in the tours, backed by more rigid inspection methods and strict legal punishments.

    The Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) and the Chinese tour operators also signed an MOU to launch `quality tour packages`. This will include the issuance of a quality-tour brand logo to help customers better identify officially-approved tours.
  • Expanding the number of cities where Thai visas can be issued in China beyond the current four: Beijing, Kunming, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
  • Continuing the joint marketing campaign under the slogan, `China-Thailand: A Glorious Combination`. This campaign is designed to link tourism destinations like Shenzhen and Yunnan provinces in Southern China with sea and beach destinations in Thailand to attract long-haul travellers from Europe, America and Japan. The campaign was first launched at the ITB Berlin, in March 2003, but was temporarily suspended due to the war in Iraq and SARS.
  • Mrs. Juthamas said, This visit gave us a good opportunity to thank the Chinese government for lifting the ban of group tours from China to Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore which had been in place since May 20, 2003.

    Thailand was the first country to lift its travel ban to China after the SARS crises abated. We now expect tourism between Thailand and China to return to normal from July onwards.

    TAT has established an office in Beijing since February to promote Thailand`s tourism in Chinese market.

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Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales. She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.