Chinese property fallout from Phuket disaster

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EXCLUSIVE: The Phuket ferry disaster on July 5 that claimed the lives of at least 47 Chinese tourists has seen bookings cancelled in the tourism sector.

Now, ThailandProperty.News can exclusively reveal the incident that was widely reported throughout China has also inevitably impacted Chinese inquires for Thailand property.

Kongsak Koopongsakorn, a Vice President of the Thai Hotels Association, recently told The Phuket News that the main cause of tourist cancellations was online reporting in China that sought to blame Thailand – and Chinese tour companies – for not taking care of tourists.

“It has turned sadness into anger, and many Chinese have cancelled their travel to the Phuket area,” he told the publication.

China is the largest source of tourists for Thailand, and in 2017 they accounted for more than 30 percent of arrivals.

Chinese property buyers and investors have also been the largest foreign nationality buying Thailand property for more than three years.

Earlier this year prolific real estate developer Sansiri reported Chinese buyers accounted for 80 percent of all its foreign customers.

And just last month real estate agency JLL reported Chinese buyers made up 50 percent of all foreign buyers of Bangkok property.

Now, the fallout from the Phuket disaster appears have hit the property sector.

Speaking exclusively to ThailandProperty.News Carrie Law, the CEO of, said: “I cannot say if it is due to the terrible boat disaster or simply a typical weekly variation, [but] Chinese buying inquiries for Thailand property in the week after the disaster were 17 percent below the 2018 weekly average.”

“To put that into context, inquiries have grown so much over the past year that they are still nearly twice the level of the same week during 2017,” she added.

And in a message to Thailand’s property developers and real estate agencies, she suggested: “At this time Chinese buyers may need reassurance that Thailand is the exciting, appealing, and aspirational destination they want it to be.”

“Developers, and other property marketers, would be well advised to invest a little more during the next quarter.

They need to highlight the advantages of investing in their projects and whip up a sense of excitement among buyers.”

Just yesterday the Tourism Authority of Thailand led Thai and Chinese media (pictured) to review the steps being taken to assist those impacted by the recent event in Phuket waters, and to review safety measures to restore confidence among tourists.

Juwai is the number one Chinese international real estate website and is also the exclusive international real estate partner for Chinese online giant Tencent.

Due to the lack of both quick and transparent data in Thailand’s property and real estate markets, it could be months before the true impact of this tragic incident is truly known.

However, this apparent negative reaction from Chinese buyers is similar to how other overseas buyers have reacted to events in Thailand over the course of the past 15 years.

Military coups and periods of political instability have witnessed knee jerk reactions from foreign property buyers but Thailand, as a property investment destination, remains the same as it was before July 5.


Note for clarity: Andrew Batt, the Founder and Editor of ThailandProperty.News, is a columnist for on matters relating to Thailand property and real estate.


Andrew Batt
The author of this article is Andrew Batt, the founder and editor of Andrew has been writing about property and real estate issues in Thailand and Southeast Asia for more than 10 years. He has worked for PropertyGuru Group, DDproperty, Dot Property Group, Hipflat and AsiaRents. He has also produced content for leading Thailand property developers and real estate agencies.

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