As a Chinese-American living in Pattaya, I honestly think that it will be my Chinese counterparts who will swoop in and save the day for the Thais. Many out there agree that it will be the Chinese who return to Thailand first and there are some who are totally against it. Here is why, regardless of how you feel about China and/or Chinese people, they will be the ones to save the day:
- Most of your big tourist attractions are no longer built for the Euro or American tourists. We are a secondary income for them, one which is a nice-to-have but not necessary to keep operations going. Almost all of your successful tourist attractions had been changed to cater to Chinese tour groups as their main source of income before the pandemic started, as soon as the tour buses return, the major businesses will thrive again, with or without western tourism.
- China has everyone beat when it comes to Geography. The fact that they will be ready to travel before anyone else and are also within a close proximity to Thailand means that they will for sure be the first ones back and spending money, possibly before the rest of the world even comes out of their lockdowns.
- Chinese people roll deep when they travel. Typically it is whole companies and/or groups of people that come to the city together. Sure, they go out and about on their tour buses but they also split up and go their own ways, spending money at various businesses. For every 1 or 2 western tourists, there are at least 5 or 6 of them.
- Chinese were already on the uptick in Thailand prior to the virus. The number of Chinese visiting Thailand rose by no less than 71.14% in 2015, from 4,624 million to 7,935 million. Fast forward to 2019 and China broke through the 10 million mark with 10,994,721 visitors. There is no reason to believe that the increase in Chinese tourism to Thailand will reverse over the virus. When the gates open, they will come flooding back.
- China was the first country affected by the virus. They were also the first country to develop a herd style immunity to the virus and are nearly out of the woods. If you look at active flight paths around the world, China airspace is already FULL of domestic flights. As soon as Thailand eases the border and arrivals restrictions, those flights will be directed here as well.
- Many people in China are already back to work and making money. Western society still has millions unemployed and stuck at home. China will be the first tourists that can afford to travel again, aside from the wealthy.
- Thailand has so many Chinese-Thai residents with relatives in China that when everything opens back up, they will no doubt be itching to visit with their family members again. Aside from the typical Chinese tourist, Chinese and Chinese-Thai business in Thailand is huge. Way larger than say, Thai-American industries. Many businessmen and women who conduct work in Thailand and China will be ready to get back to travelling back and forth and handling their business.
- It will be China that comes in a buys up all of the cheap business/industrial buildings that people are selling after the virus. They have already started buying up land, buildings and businesses around the world, I’m sure Thailand is not the exception to it. The amount of Chinese businesses that we will see in Thailand is going to skyrocket after the pandemic, thus, putting more money into revitalizing the Thai economy.
There will be people out there that don’t agree with my assessment and that is 100% okay. This is my opinion and the way I see things after talking to my family in China. They seem like they are already rebooted and ready to make things happen over there, while the rest of us still figure out what we are doing.
It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Chinese government start lifting many of their restrictions within the next few weeks. When China is ready, it is almost guaranteed that Thailand will accept them back, even if people here aren’t ready to have them. It’s just the way it goes in my opinion. The order I see the larger countries returning in is this:
Just the way I see things, I know this article will probably take some heat, so I’ve decided to submit it as anonymous, don’t need anymore drama than the virus is already causing.