Thailand Wants To Offer Incentives for Chinese Airlines

SAT–1 is part of the Phase 2 development project of Suvarnabhumi Airport.

BANGKOK — The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is negotiating with the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) and Airports of Thailand (AOT) to increase the number of slots for flights from China to Thailand.

They are proposing incentives to encourage airlines to add more flights to secondary cities. If the number of slots is increased by only 10 percent in the fourth quarter, monthly tourist arrivals could exceed 1 million and the annual target of 8 million Chinese tourists could be reached.

Mr. Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, Deputy Governor for Asia and South Pacific Market at TAT, highlighted the strong growth in Chinese tourist arrivals. 3.43 million Chinese tourists visited Thailand in the first half of 2024 (January-June), making it the top source of international tourists, out of a total of 17.5 million international visitors.

TAT is confident that the target of 8 million Chinese tourists in 2024 will be achieved. To further boost the market, TAT is currently negotiating with CAAT to increase flights from various Chinese cities in the winter season, starting in the fourth quarter, to cope with the influx in the peak season.


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Tourists crowded at Suvarnabhumi Airport on February 25, 2024, but the cashier lady at a nearby coffee shop said it’s not a particularly busy Sunday afternoon. (Photos by Pravit Rojanaphruk)

The TAT also proposes measures to incentivize existing and new airlines to expand their routes to Thailand. This includes incentives such as reduced landing fees to encourage flights to secondary or less visited cities. Discussions are also planned with AOT on these details.

TAT expects that in October, November and December 2024, the number of Chinese tourist arrivals could exceed 1 million per month.

“At present, major cities in China such as Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou, as well as secondary and emerging cities, have high demand for more flights. If we can increase seat capacity by about 10 percent in the fourth quarter, we are confident of reaching the target of 8 million,” Chattan said.

During the summer season (31 March – 26 October 2024), there were 34,452 flights from China to Thailand from 40 cities with a total of 6,438,233 seats, which is about 80 percent of the 2019 level.

Chinese tourists traveling to Thailand are mainly from the younger generation (Gen Z), followed by families, young professionals, incentive travelers and students.

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A C919 large passenger aircraft, China’s first self-developed trunk jetliner, takes off from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport in east China’s Shanghai, May 28, 2023. (Xinhua)

Mr. Chattan also mentioned that TAT’s marketing efforts for the Chinese market this year are under the concept of “Travel Thailand, the More You Go, the More Fun It Is”,” which aims to promote Thailand’s positive image. Initiatives include the Amazing Festival & Exclusive Trip in Thailand (Chinese Influencer Mega FAM Trip) at the end of December 2024, joint promotions with social media platforms to share positive content about Thailand, and joint promotions with online platforms to highlight special offers and tourist attractions.

The TAT also works with travel agencies such as Yunnan DCD Traveling Service in Kunming to put together overland travel packages to boost tourism and offer new travel experiences, as well as cultural and tourism exchange projects between Thailand and China.


Looking ahead to 2025, the TAT is planning events such as the Amazing Thailand Songkran Festival 2024 and working with travel companies to offer Thai travel packages to tourists from Kunming and other Chinese regions. These packages will take tourists to various Thai provinces such as Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai and Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Pattaya, Phuket, Hat Yai and on to Malaysia and Singapore, with a trip duration of 10-26 days and prices ranging from 7,000-40,000 yuan (approx. 35,000-200,000 THB) per person.

In addition, TAT will expand projects such as TATX LABUBU (POPMART International Group Limited) with the cultural activities of Labubu Amazing Thailand Experience Explorer between July and September 2025.