BANGKOK, May 11 (Xinhua) -- Inbound Chinese visitors to Thailand are on track to reach 1 million per month beginning in October, a level seen before the COVID-19 pandemic, due to demand during peak season and higher airline capacity.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has reported a growing number of travelers from the Chinese mainland, with arrivals increasing from 91,898 in January to 285,000 recorded in April, as flights resumed between the two countries.
Chinese visitor arrivals are likely to surpass 5 million this year given the over 6 million available airline seats connecting China to Thailand between April and October, according to Chuwit Sirivejkul, TAT regional director of marketing for East Asia.
Depending on the number of flights allocated during the high season between October and March, the annual arrivals could soar as high as 7 million, Chuwit added.
Starting next month, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand expects flights from China to reach 430 per week, up from over 100 currently.
Chuwit noted that daily Chinese arrivals peaked at 18,000 to 20,000 during the Labor Day holiday earlier this month and will range between 8,000 and 10,000 a day in May.
This figure is a significant increase from the average of 2,500 visitors per day recorded in February before group travel was allowed from the Chinese mainland following China's optimization of its COVID-19 policy.
According to the TAT, Thailand welcomed 8,596,452 foreign tourists between January and April, with 843,920 coming from the Chinese mainland.
The surge in tourist numbers is a positive sign for the Southeast Asian country's vital tourism industry, which has been hit hard by the pandemic.
In 2019, nearly 40 million international tourists were recorded entering the kingdom, with Chinese tourists accounting for more than a quarter of the total arrivals.