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Chinese New Year travel boom

February 4, 2013

Inbound and outbound tourism is expected to be very active during Chinese New Year, say tourism operators.

A vendor in Bangkok’s Chinatown checks out lanterns and paper offerings for sale ahead of Chinese New Year. Many Chinese opt to travel abroad to celebrate the festival, which begins next Sunday.  

The Tourism Council of Thailand expects the number of Chinese tourist arrivals from China and Hong Kong will reach 100,000 during the long holiday starting next Sunday, generating 4.2 billion baht.

The Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) estimates the number of charter flights from China to Thailand during the period could reach 200, double last year’s number.

ATTA president Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn said many Chinese opt to travel abroad to celebrate the Lunar New Year, with destinations ranging from Thailand to Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines.

The influx of Chinese arrivals will likely cause difficulties for tour operators in arranging accommodations during the period in popular locales such as Pattaya, Phuket and Bangkok, he said.

“Many travel agents must resort to serviced apartments for the moment,” said Mr Sisdivachr.

The Thai-Chinese Tourism Alliance Association (TCTA) expects the number of tourists from China during the 10-day holiday will rise by 10-15% to between 160,000 and 170,000, bringing total February arrivals from China to 300,000.

The TCTA estimates the number of Chinese arrivals will reach 3.3 million this year, attributable to the lack of negative factors such as floods.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand said foreign visitors can experience traditional Chinese culture in many areas, each attracting thousands of visitors to enjoy events.

Celebrations will take place in Chinatown on Yaowarat Road in Bangkok as well as in Suphan Buri, Nakhon Sawan, Phuket and Hat Yai.

Charoen Wangananont, a former president of the Thai Travel Agents Association and the managing director of Kangwal Holiday Co, expects the number of outgoing Thai tourists for Chinese New Year will increase by 5% this year, with key destinations China, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea.

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