Baidu maps out new vision for Chinese tourists in Thailand
Traveling solo in Thailand will become more of a joy for those Chinese tourists who find it difficult and time-consuming to plan a trip, as Baidu has been developing a one-stop information service with multiple partners in the southeast Asian country.
The Chinese tech giant on Monday signed a MoU on Tourism Cooperation with the Tourism Authority of Thailand, or TAT, in part to help independent visitors figure out top picks for local attractions, restaurants as well as hotels, and more importantly, how to get there.
Such information will be easily accessible via Baidu Map, a mapping service technology in both Chinese and Thai launched in Bangkok on the same day with an audio smart guide and 17,000 points of interest provided by TAT.
Tourism has become the single biggest driver of growth in the Thai economy, contributing to about 10 percent of its gross domestic product, and China is the country's largest source of international travelers.
Last year, about 8 million travelers from the Chinese mainland visited Thailand - the most popular trail destination for Chinese tourists - over one third of the country's total inbound arrivals, according to a report by the World Tourism Barometer.
The number of Chinese tourists is expected to hit at least 10 million by end-2016, bringing Thailand's total tourism earnings to 509 billion baht (USD 14.5 billion), a 35.4% increase from a year earlier.
Statistics from the China National Administration of Tourism show a total of 120 million Chinese traveled overseas in 2015 spending USD 194 billion across the world, making it the third year in a row to top the list of international outbound travelers.
A report jointly released on Monday by Baidu Thailand, Union Pay and Ctrip shows only 41% are willing to join group tours when traveling in Thailand in the past six months, and the share is expected to drop to 26% in the next half year.
The Chinese online search giant cut its revenue forecast for the current quarter, saying regulatory scrutiny into healthcare and related ads was hurting its advertising revenue, according to a Reuters report.
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