Chinese tourists cancel trips to Thailand following shooting

By Hoang Phong   October 17, 2023 | 05:22 pm PT
Chinese tourists cancel trips to Thailand following shooting
People flee following shots fired at the luxury Siam Paragon shopping mall, in Bangkok, Thailand, October 3, 2023. Photo by Reuters
Many Chinese tourists have canceled tours to Thailand following a recent shopping mall shooting, urging industry insiders to call on the Thai government to tighten gun control.

About 590,000 Chinese travelers had confirmed flight and hotel bookings to Thailand as of October 14, down 9.2% from the 650,000 registered before the shooting, Thai government spokesman Chai Wacharonke said as cited by Bloomberg.

The shooting that happened at Siam Paragon mall in Bangkok's commercial heart on October 3 killed a Chinese tourist, another foreign national, and injured four others.

Tourism industry insiders in Thailand blamed the shooting for decline in tourism confidence among foreign tourists.

Chutidech Promkaewngarm, assistant manager at leading tour operator Standard Tour, said despite not all reservations from Chinese tour groups being cancelled, many have postponed their trips.

"Some Chinese netizens have expressed their reluctance to visit a country where gun ownership is not illegal," Chutidech said as cited by Thaiger.

Paisarn Sukcharoen, president of the Northern Thai Hotel Association, also revealed that around one-third of hotel bookings had been postponed immediately after the shooting and suggested that new Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin boost measures to tighten gun control measures.

Srettha's administration last month introduced visa-free entry for Chinese nationals to attract tourists from the world’s largest outbound tourism market during the peak year-end months.

Chinese visitors accounted for 11 million of a record 39.9 million foreign tourists to Thailand in 2019 before the pandemic.

This year, Thailand eyes five million Chinese arrivals but so far it received nearly three million.

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