We need to wake up and smell the roses, us Europeans are no longer an important group for the Thailand tourism industry – in fact, we are what you would call ‘niche’ – and with good reason. The Chinese are here in numbers and not only will this continue to grow but they also outspend Europeans per capita by 53% when in Thailand.

There are more Chinese…

The Chinese now account for 57.48% of all tourists in Thailand and what makes this even more staggering is only 8.7% currently have passports (120 million).

According to Jing Travel this could double by 2020 – that means 240 million Chinese able to travel (363% of the UK population (66 million)). They also go on to state that first time Chinese travellers are more likely to travel more close to home to begin with, so places like Vietnam and, you guessed it, Thailand.

..And the Chinese share of the pie will only grow

No wonder Thailand are forecasting tourism to grow from the 38 million now to over 79 million by 2030.

The Chinese Spend More...

The Chinese LOVE to shop

Quite often I hear the European retaliation that they would like to see the spend levels per capita of Chinese, suggesting it to be low. This could not be further from the truth as shopping is an important factor for when they go on holiday.

The Chinese expenditure into Thailand is US$15,342,000,000 each year, which is more than any other nation.

The average spend per day for a Chinese tourist in Thailand is US$192 – which is 53% more than the average Europeans US$125 daily spend.

Chinese top daily spend in Thailand

Thailand Business like the Chinese…

In a blog I posted last year, I revealed what hoteliers felt about the Chinese and it was a big thumbs up. They pay more for a room, pay immediately and don’t moan when at the hotel.

The Thailand hoteliers all agreed they preferred the Chinese traveller. You see us Westerners like to moan about everything and this often results in a rebate on the room rate. Plus with Western tourists, given the mode of payment, the hotels often don’t see the money for a month (e.g. Agoda etc). With the Chinese tour group they pay immediately and upfront, and – and this shocked me – they pay more than the Western room rate. Western tourists are driving the room rate down and the Chinese tourist is driving it up.

A Pattaya hotelier also explained us Westerners get it all wrong when we say the Chinese don’t put money into the local economy too (popular belief is that it is kept within their circles). He explained, Westerners do not visit attractions in Thailand yet the Chinese visit up to 5 attractions every day from Nong Nooch Gardens to Miss Tiffanys; on a 5 day trip that’s 25 locations. Yes of course they will visit the tour operators circles too but that is maybe only 20-25% of the total trips organised.

It is amazing at how quickly this tourism transition in Thailand has happened, it feels only yesterday that Thailand was almost single handily reserved for the Western traveller. Well, those days have clearly gone – And they went in a spectacular shift to the East.


Let Dan know where you need help and he will send you recommendations and help you get set up

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