Thai-Chinese Tourism Alliance Association says Chinese tourists are now the main supplier for Thailand’s tourism industry and arrivals will expand to 3.3 million this year.

TCTA president, Kasean Wattanachaopisut, said inbound tour operators are now scrambling to take advantage of the boom.

“This year, the association expects visits from China to reach 3.3 million … in February there will be 330,000 visits for Chinese New Year holidays.”In addition, Chinese tourist spending has also increased to Bt5,000 per day per head up from Bt3,000, which means given a little more time the China market will outpace even Europe in the spend category.

Mr Kasean added that 30% of Chinese tourists visit the country on charter flights mainly to Chiang Mai and Phuket while 70% fly to Bangkok and stay for two to three nights before visiting Pattaya and Samet Island.

On average, Chinese tourist stay one week in the country and spend Bt30,000 to Bt40,000 per person per trip.

“Most of them are avid shoppers, snatching up brand name products at duty-free shops and stores around Bangkok’s Ratchaprasong Intersection.”

Currently, Chinese tourist shopping expenditure for duty-free products has increase to Bt4,000 to Bt5,000 per head against Bt800 per person five years ago.

Luxury and FIT tourist groups are increasing particularly the latter market, which has improved 30% from 20% of the overall tour package market.

In 2012, there were 2.7 million Chinese visits to the kingdom improving 12.51% from 1.7 million visits in 2011, according to Ministry of Tourism and Sports’ Department of Tourism data.