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TAT Pushes for Increased Flight Capacity: Thailand Aims for 8 Million Chinese Tourists in 2024

Published on: Jul 7, 2024 12:11 AM

Targeting 8 Million Chinese Tourists

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has announced that its goal of attracting 8 million Chinese tourists this year is within reach, provided airlines can boost seat capacity to over 80% of pre-pandemic levels.

Current Tourist Arrivals

As of June 30, Chinese tourists led the way with 3.5 million arrivals out of a total of 17.5 million foreign visitors to Thailand. The Tourism and Sports Ministry reported that travelers from Malaysia and India followed, with 2.4 million and 1 million arrivals, respectively.

Increasing Seat Capacity

Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, TAT's deputy governor for international marketing in Asia and the South Pacific, stated that 6.44 million seats are available for Chinese routes during the summer schedule, ending in October, equating to approximately 80% of pre-pandemic capacity. "To achieve our target of 8 million Chinese tourists this year, seat capacity on Chinese routes must be increased. This is challenging as airlines in both Thailand and China are experiencing aircraft shortages," Chattan explained.

Challenges and Opportunities

Chattan also noted that some airlines prefer to allocate their aircraft to domestic flights rather than international routes. However, he highlighted that the number of flights between China and Thailand is gradually increasing. Airlines may redirect their aircraft to serve more international destinations during the upcoming cool season.

Encouraging Flights to Second-Tier Cities

TAT is encouraging Chinese carriers to fly directly to second-tier cities in Thailand with international airports, such as Chiang Rai, U-Tapao Airport in Chon Buri, and Surat Thani. To support this initiative, TAT plans to boost travel demand through activity promotions, which could help increase the load factor and sustain airline operations. TAT is also in discussions with the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) to allocate suitable slots for Chinese flights.

Addressing Landing Fees

Several airlines have inquired about reducing landing fees at airports, and TAT aims to mediate this issue with Airports of Thailand (AOT) in the near future. With the Chinese Golden Week in October approaching, TAT anticipates a significant increase in Chinese arrivals from October 1 to 7, potentially resulting in at least 1 million Chinese visitors per month between October and December.


The Tourism Authority of Thailand's strategic initiatives to increase flight capacity and attract more Chinese tourists are vital for the country's economic recovery. By addressing the challenges of aircraft shortages, encouraging direct flights to second-tier cities, and mediating landing fee reductions, TAT is paving the way for a significant boost in tourism. With the anticipated surge in Chinese visitors during the Golden Week and the remainder of the year, Thailand is poised to achieve its ambitious target of 8 million Chinese tourists, revitalizing the tourism sector and contributing to overall economic growth.

Naipaporn Janbang Author
Property Content Specialist

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