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China replaces Malaysia as top tourist source to Thailand

Source:   Time:

China replaces Malaysia as top tourist source to Thailand

BANGKOK, July 18 (Xinhua) -- China became the top source of tourists to Thailand as the number of Chinese tourists surged and exceeded that of Malaysians in the first half of 2012, Thai tourism authorities said Wednesday.

Some 1,124,234 Chinese tourists visited Thailand in the first six months, up 28.9 percent year on year. It was the first time the number exceeded 1 million for a six-month period, according to statistics released by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

A total of 10.5 million tourists visited Thailand in the same period, up 7.6 percent year on year. Strong growth in the number of Chinese tourists was a major booster of Thai tourism, according to TAT.

China will stay as Thailand's top source of tourists if the trend continues. "All the markets are doing well, but growth of the China market is phenomenal," Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, head of TAT's International Relations told Xinhua.

China is a most important market for us, we are working with hotels, restaurants and tour agencies to constantly improve our service quality to attract more tourists. Not only more Chinese tourists are arriving, they are also spending more, Chattan said.

The rapid growth of the Chinese market means Chinese tourists like what Thailand can offer, including beaches, shopping and culture. Easy accessibility to Thailand also contributed to the growth, such as low-cost airlines between major Chinese cities and Thai tourist destinations of Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai, Chattan said.

"Sky is the limit for the potential of the Chinese market for Thai tourism," he added.

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