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Chinese Visitors Boosting Thailand

May 22, 2013

Thailand’s economy is getting a boost from young Chinese travelers looking to shop, eat and relax at spas.

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More than 1.12 million Chinese tourists visited Thailand in the first quarter of 2013, a 93 percent increase from the same period of 2012, according to Bloomberg. A total of 2.8 million Chinese visited Thailand in 2012, the wire service reported.

In Thailand things are cheaper, hotels are comfortable and it’s much warmer, Ying Ying, a Chinese tourist renting a 3-story, 3,000-square-foot suite for $1,200 a night in China, told Bloomberg.

Foregoing beaches, Chinese tourists are spending money in restaurants, shops and spas almost every day they are in the country.

Thailand’s Tourism and Leisure sub-index, which tracks the overall market, increased 105 percent in the last year, Bloomberg reports. Thailand’s hotel industry previously reported an increase in revenue per room for 2012.

After five years of political troubles, developers in Thailand hope the influx of Chinese tourist will translate to home sales.

Although Thailand is a mostly Buddhist country, a casino resort in the region similar to Singapore could be arriving soon, Gulu Lalvani, chairman of Royal Phuket Marina, told Bloomberg.

The increase in Chinese tourism will provide a boost to the economy in Thailand, where the gross domestic product shrunk 2.2 percent during the first quarter of 2013 from the previous quarter, according to Reuters, which had predicted just a 0.8 percent decline for the quarter.

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