Friday, 8 February 2013

Chinese tourists fly into Thailand for lunar new year

BANGKOK, Feb 6 – At least 200,000 tourists from China are expected to celebrate Chinese New Year in Thailand, starting Saturday, with Bangkok, Phuket, Krabi, Surat Thani and Chiang Mai their  favourite destinations, a senior tourism official said on Wednesday.

Thanitta Savetsila Maneechote, deputy permanent secretary for tourism and sports, said the ministry has cooperated with several state and private agencies to arrange facilities for the tourists’ convenience in Thailand during the lunar new year holidays from Sunday Feb 9 and extending through Feb16.

Chiang Mai is a prominent destination for “free independent travel” with tour operators normally arranging blocks of rooms in advance for individual tourists who travel independently, and not in groups.

The tourists will mostly enter Thailand through three major airports: Suvarnabhumi, Don Meaung and Phuket.

Thirty-one additional chartered flights, or a total of 985 flights altogether, will land at Suvarnabhumi Airport daily Feb 6-18, carrying 216,866 passengers, while Don Meaung will receive 98 chartered flights with 14,000 travellers.

Ms Thanitta said tourism and immigration police will be reinforced at the airports to facilitate arriving tourists especially during the 8pm-2am peak hours.

This is the first year the Chinese government has assigned its minister of culture to participate in the lunar new year celebrations with Thais of Chinese descent, she said, adding that a 180-member Chinese troupe will perform at Koh Larn off the eastern resort town of Pattaya.  Koh Larn is one of the most popular islands among Chinese tourists.

Happy New Year!