ey’re falling in love with this Southeast Asian country all over again. Source: Shutterstock.

THAILAND may have seen a slump in Chinese tourists after the serious Phuket boating accident which killed 47 Chinese nationals in July 2018, but it looks like the Southeast Asian country is picking itself up and well on its way to recovery.

Airbnb has released new data highlighting Thailand as one of the top five global destinations travelers from Mainland China this Chinese New Year holiday, also known as “the world’s largest annual human migration”.

The Chinese travel market is embracing a golden age of “consumption upgrading” and the rise of the “experience economy”, such that Thailand has become one of the top destinations for Chinese travelers all year round, and especially during peak festive periods like the Chinese New Year holiday.

Around the world, guests from China travel to 1,048 cities in 111 countries and regions during the Chinese New Year holiday. And the number of guest arrivals made by Airbnb guests from China for travel to Thailand during Chinese New Year increased by 100 percent compared to last year.

Some of the key travel trends include Bangkok being one of the top global cities with the increasing popularity of extended trips to secondary destinations such as Chon Buri, Hua Hin, Rayong, Saraburi, and Ayutthaya.

Source: Airbnb.

On top of that, more than 80 percent of bookings made by independent Chinese travelers on Airbnb for the 2019 Chinese New Year holiday were made by users born in the 1980s and 1990s, further cementing that millennials are one of the most powerful consumer demographics in the travel industry.

Family travel also remains an important sector as nearly 60 percent of reservations made by Chinese guests for Chinese New Year travel were for groups of three or more travelers.

In terms of the rise of the “experience economy”, Airbnb has seen a hike in bookings for Airbnb Experiences in Thailand. Amongst the most booked activities are cooking classes and biking tours in off-the-beaten-track neighborhoods.

The positive numbers highlighted the growing importance of the local Airbnb community to Thailand’s tourism economy, Airbnb Southeast Asia head of public policy Mich Goh said.

“Known for their welcoming hospitality, passionate Thais have become the forefront of an important type of tourism that is people-driven, local, authentic and sustainable,” shared Goh. “Airbnb is focused on promoting a more healthy form of tourism that continuously empowers the local Thai host community and helps drive economic activity into communities and neighborhoods that our hosts call home,” Goh explained.

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