Thailand seeks to lure more Chinese visitors

Beijing/Shanghai (China Daily/ANN) - Thailand is planning to set up more attractions to lure Chinese tourists, the country's ambassador to China says.

"We are determined to improve our tourism sector with new forms of tourist attractions to fit the changing demands of Chinese people," said Wiboon Khusakul.

"The Thai government has also pledged to increase the provision of safety and security for tourists in Thailand."

The ambassador was speaking in an exclusive interview with China Daily ahead of Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Thailand from yesterday - the first to the country by a Chinese premier in more than 10 years.

Some 1.7 million Chinese visitors went to Thailand in 2011, a 60 per cent increase year-on-year, and the ambassador said the figure is expected to reach 2 million in 2012.

With its food, scenery and world-renowned hospitality, more Chinese companies are choosing Thailand for incentive trips. For instance, from November 4 to 20, more than 10,000 employees from a Chinese health food supplement company travelled to the country as part of an incentive award for meeting sales targets.

The ambassador said: "The large number of Chinese tourists visiting Thailand reflects not only China's strong economy but also the confidence and trust the Chinese people have in Thailand."

Zhou Fangye, a researcher on Thai studies with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the increasing number of Chinese tourists can benefit Thailand in many ways.

"The tourists will promote the tourism industry in Thailand and create more jobs for local people," said Zhou.

The increased exchanges will bring more benefits in the long run, as new cooperation opportunities are created, he said.

Thai culture has become increasingly popular in China, with the first Thai Film Week being held in Shanghai from November 15 to 18, with 12 films shown at four cinemas.

Thai films have also been shown at the Shanghai International Film Festival for two consecutive years.

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