Tourist arrivals from China to Thailand during this year's Chinese New Year are forecast to drop by 9 per cent compared to last year due to the Thai government's crackdown on cheap tour packages launched last year, the Tourism Authority of Thailand said on Monday.
Dubbed the "Zero-dollar Tours", tour agents lured Chinese tourists with cheap packages, often not enough to cover the entire trip, and forced them to buy overpriced products or services not included in the programme.
In September 2016, the Thai government cracked down on tour companies offering these packages on the ground that they did more harm than good to the country's tourism industry. Several companies have been charged with criminal activities and money laundering.
Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Yutthasak Supasorn told reporters on Monday the downward forecast of 240,000 Chinese tourist arrivals during January 27 to February 2 was due to the persisting effect of the crackdown.
Yutthasak said more tourists from other countries are expected to visit Thailand during this year's Chinese New Year, however.
A total of 825,000 foreign tourists will visit Thailand during the period, a 4 per cent increase from last year, TAT reported.
Despite the crackdown, Thailand will remain the top destination among Chinese tourists during this year's "Golden Week", TAT told dpa.
This year's Chinese New Year celebrations in Thailand will be more subdued than the usual flamboyant activities, TAT said, citing the mourning for the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej who died in October 2016.