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Thailand expects record number of Chinese visitors

Staff writer |
Thailand expects to attract nearly 6 million Chinese tourists to the country this year, a nearly 30-percent increase from last year.

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China is the largest source of tourists to Thailand. Last year, 4.62 million Chinese visited Thailand, accounting for 18.7 percent of all international arrivals and generating 188 billion baht ($5.8 billion) in revenue.

However, they were also increasingly criticized for inappropriate behavior at public places in Thailand such as temples and toilets.

"Before the large number of Chinese visited Thailand, say a decade ago, we also prepared 'Do and Don't' lists for travelers from Western countries because of their inappropriate actions. First-time travelers may not understand the local culture and customs, so they sometimes behave differently, but unintentionally," said Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Thailand's minister of Tourism and Sports.

"Among millions of Chinese travelers in Thailand, most of them are leaving China for the first time, so those issues are bound to happen," Kobkarn said.

According to the minister, the Thai government is trying to provide more travel information to Chinese tourists, especially first-time visitors, including brochures and videos.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand also plans to provide more signs in Chinese at popular destinations.

Sightseeing is still the main purpose of Chinese tours, but shopping trips and medical tours have also become popular in recent years.

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