Thailand’s earlier projection of ten million Chinese tourist arrivals this year is likely to fall short of target due to a sharp drop of tourists from China as a result of the government’s crackdown on zero-dollar package tours from China, said Mr Sinchai Wattanasartsathorn, president of Pattaya Tourism Association, on Sunday.
He pointed out that air ticket bookings to Thailand in China saw 70-80 percent cancellations just as advance bookings of hotels in Bangkok and Pattaya substantially dropped since the crackdown.
Although high season has already arrived in Pattaya since October which will last until next April, the number of Chinese tourists visiting the resort city of Pattaya which is most popular among the Chinese has visibly dropped with two- and three-star hotels most affected, said Mr Sinchai.
European tourists have increased but their numbers are still small, he added.
Zero-dollar package tours are tourism services provided by unscrupulous Chinese tour companies in collusion with their Thai partners. They usually sell package tours to Chinese tourists below costs. But upon arrival in Thailand, the tourists will be taken to souvenir or jewelry shops which overcharge them heavily to recoup the below-cost packages.