Chinese Airlines Cancel Thailand Flights Amid Thai Visa Waivers

Four Chinese airlines order 292 new Airbus A320 jets
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Written by Binayak Karki

Before the pandemic in 2019, China was a crucial source of tourists for Thailand, contributing 11 million visitors.

Chinese airlines have canceled flights to Thailand in December and January as the number of travelers in the route decrease, despite Thailand’s attempts to attract visitors by waiving visa requirements.

Suttipong Kongpool, the head of Thailand’s Civil Aviation Authority, revealed that 10 Chinese airlines have informed about canceling flights to Thailand from next month until January 2024.

Originally, around 11,000 flights were planned for December, but only half have been confirmed. Similarly, for January, out of the initially scheduled 10,984 flights, only 7,400 have been confirmed.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin assured that the flight cancellations by Chinese airlines due to low demand wouldn’t affect Thailand’s visa exemption policy for Chinese citizens.

The 10 airlines that have cancelled flights are Air China, China Eastern, Shanghai Airlines, Spring Airlines, China Southern, Shenzhen Airlines, Juneyao Airlines, Okay Airways, Hainan Airlines and Beijing Capital.

Thailand started waiving visas for Chinese tourists in September. However, recent events, like a shooting at a Bangkok mall resulting in the deaths of two foreigners, including a Chinese national, have impacted tourist confidence in visiting Thailand.

Before the pandemic in 2019, China was a crucial source of tourists for Thailand, contributing 11 million visitors, making up over a quarter of all arrivals that year. However, recent findings from a survey conducted by a Singapore-based digital marketing firm indicate that Thailand is no longer a preferred destination for Chinese tourists.

The survey, polling over 10,000 Chinese residents about their upcoming international travel plans, suggests a shift away from Thailand. Despite this, approximately 3.01 million Chinese tourists have visited Thailand this year.

Thailand, the second-largest economy in Southeast Asia, anticipates receiving between 3.4 to 3.5 million Chinese tourists this year, falling short of the initial goal of 5 million arrivals.

Recent Development On This News: Thailand Tourism Authority Explains Chinese Airlines Flight Cancellation

Thailand Expects More Chinese Tourists, Where are Chinese Travelling The Most?

Thailand aimed for 3.4-3.5 million Chinese tourists this year but expects to fall short despite efforts like a visa-free program.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) reports around 3.01 million Chinese visitors so far. Before the pandemic, China was a major market, contributing 11 million visitors in 2019, comprising over a quarter of total arrivals that year.

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About the author

Avatar of Binayak Karki

Binayak Karki

Binayak - based in Kathmandu - is an editor and author writing for eTurboNews.

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