TAT and UnionPay International Sign Letter of Intent

BANGKOK – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and UnionPay International (UPI), a global leading card scheme, have signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to enhance cooperation in the promotion of Thailand’s quality tourism experiences for Chinese visitors and UnionPay cardholders.

The LOI was signed between Ms. Thapanee Kiatphaibool, TAT Governor, and Mr. Wang Lixin, UnionPay International, in the presence of Ms. Chang Yumeng, Counsellor for Cultural Affairs of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China to Thailand. Executives of both parties also attended the signing ceremony at the TAT Head Office in Bangkok.

Ms. Thapanee Kiatphaibool, TAT Governor, said: “This TAT-UnionPay International agreement supports the Thai government’s tourism policy to forge long-term strategic partnerships with leading players in key tourist markets. China is one of Thailand’s largest markets. Following the visa-free policy for Chinese tourists, further enhancement of cooperation with Chinese counterparts will help facilitate travel as well as develop and promote quality tourism experiences in Thailand for Chinese visitors.

“This latest agreement also aligns with the TAT’s Partnership 360 strategy,” Ms. Thapanee added. “Specifically for the Chinese market, studies have indicated that Chinese tourists have high purchasing power and that they prefer Thailand as a travel destination. And so buoyed by the 30-day visa-free stay, the partnership with UnionPay International would result in several initiatives to stimulate Chinese tourists to visit Thailand and spend more on Thai tourism products and services.”

The TAT-UnionPay International LOI has a validity of two years. TAT and UnionPay International will cooperate with cooperation ranging from co-fund joint marketing initiatives and joint promotions and press releases to data sharing and high-end customers.

The agreement is expected to help inspire Chinese tourists and UnionPay cardholders to visit Thailand while enabling a deeper understanding of their consumption and spending behavior.

Specific marketing and outreach efforts towards UnionPay’s higher-tiered client base, including Platinum or Diamond cardholders and above or clients with high income, will be introduced to encourage travel to Thailand and stimulate higher spending.

Mr. Wang Lixin, UnionPay International, said “UnionPay is one of China’s leading payment brands, whereas China is a pioneer in cashless transactions, and UnionPay cards are accepted in more than 180 countries and regions with nearly 67 million merchants outside China’s mainland. This cooperation will leverage UnionPay’s network to present Thailand’s quality tourism offerings in the Chinese market while stimulating UnionPay cardholders to spend more for special privileges.”

Statistics showed that 2,152,167 Chinese tourists visited Thailand from 1 January to 21 April 2024, making it the largest tourist market.

China and Thailand waive visa requirements for citizens of both countries from 1 March 2024. Holders of valid Thai ordinary passports and valid Chinese passports for public affairs and ordinary passports are exempted from visa requirements for entering, exiting, or transiting the other country’s territory for a 30-day stay. Cumulative stays must not exceed 90 days in any 180-day period.

This is except for those to reside or engage in employment, study, media activities, or other activities that require prior approval from competent authorities of the other country. (TAT)