L’image of Thailand among the Chinese suffers from the success of a blockbuster and rumors on social networkswhich penalize the revival of the Thai tourist destination.
Released in August, No More Bets (The Games Are Made, previously unreleased in France), a Chinese film directed by Ao Shen, has grossed more than $520 million in revenue in China. The story, presented as inspired by “real facts“, is that of a young Chinese couple kidnapped by a gang in Thailand.
Very bad publicity for the former kingdom of Siam, whose growth is suffering from the difficulties of the tourism sector (around 20% of GDP) in returning to its pre-pandemic level. In 2019, the country welcomed 40 million visitors, including around 11 million Chinese. There have only been 2.3 million since the start of the year, out of 19 million in total.
The success of the film and the numerous viral publications on social networks warning of the risks of being kidnapped and sent to neighboring Burma or Cambodia by mafia networks in the region will not help. Faced with the phenomenon, the Thai government is today launching a test program to allow the entry of Chinese tourists without a visa.
However, in the opinion of travel professionals based in China, the reluctance of Chinese tourists to go abroad also finds its origin in the poor health of the Chinese economy and in local tour operators who, since Covid, have developed travel offers within the immense country.