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Thailand turns to Chinese influencers, tech firms to allay tourist concerns
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Thailand turns to Chinese influencers, tech firms to allay tourist concerns

Thailand has decided to tap Chinese social-media influencers and companies like Huawei Technologies and Alipay to promote the nation as a tourist haven, in an attempt to more than double the number of travellers from its hugest source of visitors before the pandemic. The Tourism Authority of Thailand will invite creators on ByteDance’s Douyin platform to produce travel content and roll out the red carpets for media and travel agents to visit all around the nation to bring prospective travellers, Mr Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, a deputy governor, said at a briefing in Bangkok.

Attracting Chinese travellers is prominent to tourism-reliant Thailand’s ambitious target of attracting 40 million visitors in 2024 and generating 3.1 trillion baht (S$117 billion) in revenue. The nation– very well known for its nightlife and beaches – aims to more than double its tally of Chinese visitors to 8.2 million in 2024 from about 3.5 million in 2023, Mr Chattan revealed. Whilst a visa waiver revealed in September for Chinese nationals supported bolster arrivals during the Mid-Autumn Festival holidays, the murdering in October of a Chinese tourist in a shooting at a Bangkok shopping mall dented confidence, according to Thai officials.

Most Chinese travellers went to Hong Kong and Macau in the first half of 2023, with Japan and Vietnam also remaining well known, Mr Chattan conveyed. The Tourism Authority of Thailand on Nov 23 signed an agreement with Fliggy, a popular Chinese travel platform owned by the Alibaba Group, to collaboratively promote the nation as safe to visit.  It will also roll out promotions with Huawei, Meituan, Spring Airlines and Sina News, Mr Chattan revealed.  The Chinese were already Thailand’s hugest group of tourists before the pandemic. They accounted for more than a quarter of the 40 million visitors in 2019 but have tallied only about three million so far in 2023.