The tourism sector expects a big turnout for foreign arrivals this high season, but domestic tourism will slow due to flood concerns.

Thailand sunset

The tourism council expects a boom in tourists from China, but only a slight increase in European tourists. Photo by Michael Malz.

Piyaman Techapaiboon, president of the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT), said foreign tourists are not worried about flooding, as their main destination is Phuket, with Krabi, Phangnga, Trang and Nakhon Si Thammarat also drawing foreigners and likely to avoid flooding.

The TCT projects total foreign visitors to Thailand at 21.5 million this year, higher than the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s projection of 20.5 million.

The TCT expects Bangkok to remain a popular destination for Asean tourists from Hong Kong and Singapore.

Apart from visiting temples and the Royal Palace, they also prefer to shop in Bangkok during weekends.

Kasian Watanachaopisut, president of the Thai-Chinese Tourism Alliance Association, said Chinese travellers are not concerned about flooding in Thailand, as most of them plan to visit Phuket and Bangkok.

This month 150 charter flights from China to Thailand are planned, seating 150,000 to 160,000 passengers.

The length of stay of Chinese tourists is expected to increase to 4-5 days from 2-3 days in the past.

Spending will rise to 6,000 to 8,000 baht per head per day from 4,000 baht.

Mr Kasian expects Chinese tourists to generate at least 6 billion baht in revenue this month alone.

(c)2012 the Bangkok Post (Bangkok, Thailand). Distributed by MCT Information Services.