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The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has launched an official WeChat ‘Visit Thailand’ application for Chinese tourists, adding the popular Mandarin Chinese social media platform to existing Thailand visitor information services available to mainland visitors.
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.”
The launch of the WeChat ‘Visit Thailand’ application enables TAT to effectively provide Thailand’s tourism news and assistance to Chinese tourists online in addition to images, voice and video sharing options. The application is also versatile enough to offer real-time updates on attractions, accommodation, dining venues as well as local Thai experiences from other important TAT campaigns.
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 the country welcoming 8.8 million Chinese visitors generating 430 billion Baht in revenue in 2016. The number is expected to grow to nine million tourists this year and generate over 480 billion 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 were Chinese tourists generating 290 billion Baht representing Thailand’s top inbound market for both arrivals and revenue.
Current trend into the important FIT travel sector indicates users prefer to find travel information online using applications with Mandarin Chinese as the main language.
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.