China’s golden week  shows Thailand should not depend heavily on Chinese tourists

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China’s golden week  shows Thailand should not depend heavily on Chinese tourists

China’s golden week  shows Thailand should not depend heavily on Chinese tourists

Written By - Patra Manas.

According to South China Morning Post, in the first four days of October, tourism income plunged 31 per cent compared to the same period last year, while the numbers of tourists fell 22 per cent, and the average spending per tourist fell 12 percent in China.

The data is worrying for China because golden week this year was meant to show a strong recovery in domestic spending, given consumer spending was curtailed during Chinese New Year in January due to coronavirus and the 7 million Chinese tourists who travelled internationally same time last year were expected to increase domestic spending this year due to closed borders.

Imports in August slumped 2.1 % compared to last year which also points to a softer domestic demand.

Given the data, it  does not bode well for Thailand’s future tourism that is overly dependent on  Chinese Tourists. Does the weak domestic demand reflect uncertainty sentiments towards China’s post Covid economy due to external risks posed by US sanctions and dampened global demand? If it does would we see the return of Chinese tourists in such large numbers as per pre-pandemic?

Apart from data and statistics, China’s leader Xi Jinping has been calling for a new initiative which he calls a “dual circulation” strategy which means China should be pushing for a robust cycle of domestic demand as the main driver of the economy while maintaining foreign markets and investors as a second engine of growth. The new initiative is likely to see Xi Jinping roll out measures to support domestic service industries such as tourism and more support for domestic sources to displace imports.

In 2019, Thailand saw 11 million Chinese tourists but it might be quite a while before we would see those figures again when Thailand opens its borders to tourism.

We need to go back to the drawing board as far as tourism is concerned and chart out campaigns that would  attract new and alternate markets to make up for the gap in our tourism revenue due to potential decline of Chinese tourists.

That is, for when we do open.