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Chinese tourists top foreign arrivals in 1st week of 2024

More than 600,000 foreigners landed on Thai soil in the first week of this year, with tourists from China topping the list.

Chinese topped the list of travelers to Thailand in the first week of 2024 as the country eyes a strong recovery in Chinese tourist numbers after last year's fiasco.

Tourism and Sports Minister Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol said there were 81,854 Chinese tourists, accounting for 13% of total foreign arrivals.

Malaysians were second at over 64,000, followed by Russians (51,467), South Koreans (43,894) and Indians (30,203).

Thailand targeted five million Chinese arrivals last year but only 3.51 million turned up.

A Bangkok mall shooting last September in which two foreigners, including a Chinese national, died affected Chinese tourists' confidence, and a number of Chinese carriers canceled flights to Thailand in December and January due to the resultant low demand.

This year the Thai government targets eight million Chinese visitors after the countries agreed to mutually waive visas starting in March.

Before the pandemic China was the biggest market for Thailand, sending 11 million tourists.

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