By Andrew J Wood
BANGKOK, – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has launched an official Mandarin Chinese language WeChat ‘Visit Thailand’ application for Chinese tourists.
The TAT’s information support network also includes its Call Centre 1672 and the online TAT Contact Centre, both already available in Mandarin Chinese, offering instant information and assistance to Chinese travellers in Thailand.
Mr. Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications said, “The Chinese travel market is cut off and very different. It is vital, as the country’s whole online ecosystem is effectively the largest closed ‘intranet’ in the world. WeChat ‘Visit Thailand’ levels the playing field, giving Chinese tourists a preferred communication tool they trust in their native Mandarin dialect.”
It is available both in Thailand and China, where tourists can ask for tourist information and assistance 24 hours by sending a simple text message to the application help desk.
China is Thailand’s largest tourist source market with 1 in 4 of all tourists originating from China. Thailand welcomed 8.8 million Chinese visitors generating 430 million Baht in revenue in 2016. The number is expected to grow to nine million tourists this year and generate over 480 million Baht in revenue (up 8% and represent 26.6% of the overall tourism revenue).
During January to July this year Thailand received 20.41 million visitors (+4.47%) who generated 1.03 trillion Baht (+6.07%). Of that total, 5.65 million (27.7%) were Chinese tourists generating 290 million Baht representing Thailand’s top inbound market for both arrivals and revenue.
WeChat is currently China’s most popular social media application with 889 million active users. The figure looks set to grow as according to the China Internet Network Information Centre there were 731 million Internet users in 2016, or 53.1% of the total population.
The number of Internet users on mobile devices increased from 620 million in 2015 to 695 million in 2016. Apart from searching for information online, users can also book accommodation and shop online.
Photo caption: From left: Mrs. Rakjit Kittikamron, Director of Tourist Information Division; Mr. Kitsana Kaewtumrong, Executive Director of Marketing Services Department; Mr. Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications; Mr. Manatase Annanwat Deputy MD of The Emporium and the EmQuartier and Mrs. Bangornrat Shinaprayoon, Assistant Executive Director, East Asian Region.