The young man on Khaosan Road, Bangkok did not want to be named but said he and his three companions were all from Beijing and on their first trip to Thailand. The trip was planned using online searches, mobile phone bookings and visits to Ctrip.com, a popular Chinese online travel service provider.
Thai tourism officials are welcoming such Chinese travellers with an eye on the future. They are increasingly seen as the next wave to boost tourism from China, now the largest source of overseas holidaymakers in this Southeast Asian nation.
Unlike the first wave, which came in large groups, these young holidaymakers are classified as “Chinese FITs”, which means “free, independent travellers”, a classification shaped by the relatively small size of a travelling party and the manner in which they plan their trips, eschewing large package tours.