Thailand, the Land of Smiles, is always attractive among the global visitors. In addition to the sun-kissed beaches and modern shopping malls, Thai friendliness and hospitality have always moved most tourists' hearts. All these can be deeply felt from a bite of authentic spicy Thai cuisine, a touch of Thai massage and the aroma of Thai spa treatment when you set foot on the land.
Recently, Thailand has been one of the dream destinations for Chinese tourists, especially those from the middle class of China. According to the figures provided by Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), China is now the biggest source market of foreign visitors to Thailand. The number of Chinese arrivals was at a total of 2.79 million and the tourism earning was at a total of US$1.4 billion in 2012. Compared to that in 2011, the number of Chinese arrivals has increased by 62%. By the end of 2013, it is expected that the number of arrivals from China will reach 3.26 million.
What have made Thailand special among Chinese tourists? Thanks to the greatest hit of the low-budget Chinese comedy "Lost in Thailand", Chinese tourists found themselves especially fond of the natural and urban landscapes of Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket, Rayong and Chiangmai. Together with the reasons like proximity over the distance, affordability and lack of language barriers, Chinese tourists like going sightseeing and shopping in Thailand.
To further get more Chinese tourists to Thailand, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has waved her magic ward for the tourism development. Effective September 2013, Thailand and China has abolished the 15-day visa-on-arrival policy and mutually agreed to set the bilateral visa exemption. To compete with Hong Kong and Singapore for the fame of Shoppers' Paradise, the Thai government is now proposing a reduction of import duties on luxury goods.