A new report from TripAdvisor has revealed that Chinese interest in travel to Thailand continues to soar, building on already strong visitor arrivals.
China was found to be the country that created the most searches for Thailand on TripAdvisor in the 12 months to June 2017, followed by the US, UK, Australia and Russia. Searches for Thailand by Chinese nationals also increased 30% year-on-year, significantly outpacing the global average of 4%. Two other large Asian populations, India and Indonesia, also recorded strong growth of 16% and 12% respectively.
The growth of Chinese searches is being driven by rising interest from second tier cities. In terms of year-on-year growth, Hangzhou experienced a 91% jump in searches, while interest from Dalian increased 81% and Qingdao rose 65%.
The surge in interest reflects the China Tourism Academy’s recent research that second and third tier cities in China are catching up as key outbound tourism markets, due to increasing disposable income and improved flight connectivity to Southeast Asia.
These flights include direct links to beach resorts such as Phuket and Krabi, which are growing in popularity among Chinese and other international visitors. The TripAdvisor data found that searches for Krabi experienced the highest year-on-year growth, at 41%, followed by Kathu and Nai Yang in Phuket, at 37% and 31% respectively. Chiang Mai, the popular cultural city in northern Thailand, experienced 10% growth.
The TripAdvisor report also found that, on average, international travellers visiting Thailand start planning their trip 65 days in advance and stay for almost five nights. Chinese travellers however, have a planning lead-time of approximately 51 days and stay for less than four nights.
“The inbound travel data that is available on TripAdvisor provides local hospitality businesses and service providers with insights on travel trends and consumer behaviours to help them more effectively capture and cater to a global audience of high intent travellers,” stated TripAdvisor spokesperson Grant Colquhoun.