Indians want to visit Thailand, says Tourism Authority of Thailand
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) reported last week that Thailand is one of the top three destinations Indians say they want to visit when going abroad.
TAT quoted research on Indian travel needs conducted by British travel group, Thomas Cook, in June this year which revealed that of the 4,000 people surveyed, 46 per cent of them wanted to travel overseas. Of these, the top three most desired destinations are the UAE (Dubai and Abu Dhabi), Maldives and Thailand. TAT Governor, Yuthasak Supasorn, said "Thailand enjoyed status as a very popular destination for Indian travellers before the pandemic, and it is extremely encouraging to see this appeal looks likely to continue once we reopen to the Indian market. In the meantime, one of the priorities for TAT in India is ensuring travellers there of the various health and safety measures; such as, the SHA (Safety & Health Administration) standards, that have been employed by Thailand for all visitors."
Based on Thailand's Ministry of Tourism and Sports data, almost 2 million Indians visited Thailand in 2019 making them the third-largest group of foreign nationals to visit the "land of smiles" that year. Just a year before, in 2018, Indians made up the sixth-largest group of foreign visitors. It is a massive jump from 2008 when 537,000 visited and Indian arrivals was ranked 11th. The tourism industry in Thailand accounts for about a fifth of its GDP and since borders closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, about 20 to 25 per cent of Thais have been put in financial peril. A United Nations report titled "COVID-19 and Tourism", said Thailand could stand to lose USD 47 billion due to the contraction of this sector.
Last Thursday, September 9, the Thai government announced plans to reopen Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chon Buri, Phetchaburi, and Prachuap Khiri Khan from 1 October as part of the second phase of the country's reopening. Government spokesperson, Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said, "This October reopening will be launched alongside with the country's newly adjusted 'universal prevention' guidelines against COVID-19, under which Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chon Buri, Phetchaburi, and Prachuap Khiri Khan are getting ready, including accelerating vaccination for the local population and formalising tourism campaigns; such as, Bangkok Sandbox, Hua Hin Recharge, and Charming Chiang Mai."
From mid-October, another 21 destinations up and down the country will reopen. Thailand is set to proceed with the fourth phase of reopening in January 2022, with 13 border provinces to reopen under travel bubbles with neighbouring countries. All four phases will cover the reopening of 43 provinces across Thailand.
Thanakorn also confirmed the success of the Phuket Sandbox programme over the last two months, which saw over 26,000 fully vaccinated international visitors arriving in Phuket generating a total of 1,634 million Baht (USD 50 million) in tourism revenue. Earlier, the TAT India offices in New Delhi and Mumbai had on August 30 announced the launch of 'Thailand Build Back Better Together' campaign, which is a pan India travel agent engagement programme. The campaign started on August 30 and will continue till September 30.
Vachirachai Sirisumpan, director in TAT, New Delhi Office, said, "The 'Thailand Build Back Better Together' campaign is an activity that Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) India offices are proud to launch to connect and engage with our travel trade partners in India. As the name states, 'Thailand Building Back Better Together', the campaign is to look ahead with positive energy that together we can build a stronger and better platform for our travel and tourism industry." According to a report in the Bangkok Post, TAT is lobbying the government to lift restrictions on Indians travelling to Thailand lifted. At the moment, commercial flights between the two countries are suspended.
One advantage of having India as a source market is the government has not imposed a travel ban to Thailand, meaning tourists are not required to stay in quarantine when they return home. In this regard, the TAT is working with two possible "no quarantine" scenarios to cater to the inbound Indian market based on seat capacity and estimated tourist arrivals from October 1 to December 31. This is assuming the Thai government approves the plan.
The first of these scenarios envisions commercial flights being resumed from the major cities of New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore, which would result in 24,500 Indians visiting Thailand during the 14-week period and generating income of USD 33.3 million. The second scenario envisions weekly charter flights to Thailand from New Delhi and Mumbai in place of commercial flights, resulting in 4,200 Indians visiting and generating income of USD 5.74 million.
The revenue estimation is based on 2019 records that Indian travellers spent on average 7 days on holidays with a trip expenditure of USD 1,366 per person. The most recent survey conducted by the TAT Mumbai and New Delhi Offices on 300 travel agents across India found that 94 per cent confirmed pent-up demand from Indian travellers to Thailand once the country reopens to tourism. 61 per cent plan to market mid-level to luxury travel. 80 per cent said Indian travellers spent on average 7 days on holidays, and placed priorities on safety and health (33 per cent), tourism activities (25 per cent), and the rest on attractive prices.
However, the current pilot reopening programmes such as the Phuket Sandbox and Samui Plus, were cited as unattractive to Indian travellers, due in part to the short duration of their average stay which is 7 days. (ANI)
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)