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Increasing Number of Chinese Visitors is Great for Thai Economy

Sep 23, 2017 | Emerging Trends Advisors, Tourism

Increasing number of Chinese visitors great for Thai economy

The number of tourist coming to Thailand has been steadily increasing for a number of years. Thailand has an uncanny knack of being able to attract visitors and this, when coupled with relatively cheap Thai baht, makes it increasingly affordable for tourists coming from other parts of Asia.

Thailand is unquestionably a popular shopping destination. Bangkok already has a vast shopping district and with Pattaya’s own shopping centres increasing in number and quality, it is hardly surprising that this makes the country particularly attractive to those with shopping in mind.

It is the ever increasing number of Chinese tourist coming from the mainland that make up the largest single group of tourists – around 30%. It is these rich Chinese visitors who are spending large amounts on a range of products from fashion to electronics. Many are even moving into the investment property sector and this has given a significant boost to the Thai economy.

A recent study by Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) notes that Chinese tourist allocate 41% of their budget to shopping and just 4% for food. Sadly, there are currently no figures available to date revealing the amounts spent on property and in particular investment properties. Although, it is evident that these Thai nationals see the Thai property market as something that they should be looking to invest in.

It is notable in Chinese culture that buying gifts for family and friends plays a significant part in Chinese etiquette. This is usually done in shopping malls where the assumption is that there is greater variety.

As you would expect, 7-Eleven has been quick to recognise the impact that Chinese tourists are having on the economy and have responded accordingly. Packets of dried fruits, fried seaweed and Thai medicinal products are targeting the Chinese market. This is once again good for the property sector as catering more for the Chinese visitors only makes destinations such as Pattaya all that more attractive.

Mid-range fashion brands also seem to appeal to our Chinese guests. Thailand’s handmade goods such as those made by Thai bag retailer, Naraya, are seen as offering great value as well as quality. These are things that appeal to the Chinese people and investment property sector is indeed offering similar mid-range properties to appeal to this particular dynamic.

The Thai cosmetic product sector has also received a significant boost, largely due to the influx of the Chinese. Beauty Buffet reported that they had “significant growth over the years [and this] can be attributed growing interest and positive feedback from foreigner tourists particularly from China, Hong Kong, and the Middle East.”

TAT and the Thai government have identified the food and beverage sector as an area where they could see significant growth. As we have identified, only 4% of the Chinese budget is currently spent on food. The belief is that if Thailand becomes a food destination it will reach out to more visitors, which, naturally will boost the economy further and bolster the property market.

The duty free chain, King Power, has also seen the benefit of growing numbers of Chinese tourists. In fact, such has been the benefit many retail stores are now creating space directly aimed at capturing the Chinese market. Thai branded goods and herbal products are particularly sort after so King Power have reacted quickly to provide this for their customers.

The number of Chinese visiting Thailand in 2017 is expected to hit the 9.5 million mark, an increase of 9% year-on-year. This is creating growth opportunities for retailers, hotels and property developers who are all looking to take advantage of this expanding customer base.

One thing that we all know is that increasing visitors, regardless of where they come from, is only going to benefit Thailand and all of those that work in the Kingdom. Pattaya is one of the cities that is looking to reach out to these Chinese guests and is having some notable success. Some innovative real estate agent companies are also employing Chinese speaking staff to boost the sector further.

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