Mr. Weerasak Kowsurat, the Minister of Tourism and Sports has disclosed after a meeting with Mr. Luo Shugang, the Minister of Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of China that Chinese authorities are beginning to feel untrusting sentiments towards Thailand’s tourism standards, and may post a yellow flag warning for Chinese tourists that plan to visit Thailand. Citing three major issues that are of concern.
- The dissatisfaction over the handling of safety standards. After the Phoenix boat capsized in Phuket that caused many Chinese tourists casualties, the Thai government was very slow at taking action. Thus, it is urgently requested that the salvage of the sunken Phoenix be accomplished by this month.
- An outbreak of Dengue fever is causing alarm as Chinese tourists could become infected.
- There is concern over security standards due to the incident at Don Muang International Airport where an airport security personnel attacked a Chinese tourist, and over the request of an on arrival visa registration fee at the immigration area.
The incidents have caused many Chinese tourists to decide to visit Japan instead of Thailand during the Chinese national holidays, which is a week long “Golden Week for Chinese tourists”, due Japan’s superior safety standards.
Mr. Weerasak has disclosed the initial response to the complaints by delegating the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA), and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to look into the matter of improving security and safety measures. As for the suggestion of a Double Entry Visa, which basically means two entries for one request, the suggestion will be proposed to relevant departments with authority over the matter once the salvaging of the vessel Phoenix has been completed.
The number of Chinese tourists that travels abroad each year is approximately 100 million. From that number about 10 million visits Thailand. Meanwhile, of all the casualties of Chinese tourists in foreign lands, 40% happens in Thailand, causing a deterioration in confidence. Especially, with the fact that during just the first 7 month of this year the number of Chinese tourists deaths in Thailand has surpassed the total number from last year.
With the aforementioned considered, Kaohoon Online observed that from news of the incidents there are possibilities that tourism related stocks such as AOT, CENTEL, MINT, ERW, SPA, AAV maybe affected from the probability of a continuous downturn in the number of Chinese tourists, which is considered the major tourist group for Thailand.