TAT cultivates India as rich source of tourist arrivals

TAT cultivates India as rich source of tourist arrivals

Spending growth outpaces all nations

Foreign tourists walk near the Grand Palace and Wat Pho. PAWAT LAOPAISARNTAKSIN
Foreign tourists walk near the Grand Palace and Wat Pho. PAWAT LAOPAISARNTAKSIN

India has emerged as an inbound tourism market for Thailand, with arrival numbers expected to reach 5 million by 2023.

Arrivals from India surged by more than 12% year-on-year to 1.43 million in the first 11 months of 2018, generating 63 billion baht in tourism income, up 31.2%, outpacing all other originating countries.

To promote arrivals from India, the Tourism Authority of Thailand will arrange more roadshows. In August, the TAT will take the Amazing Thailand roadshow to secondary Indian cities such as Ahmedabad, Pune, Amritsar and Bhubaneswar.

The roadshow to the four cities, all of which have been given international gateway status by the Indian government, is part of the TAT's strategy to tap the rich potential of India's populous secondary cities.

This week, the TAT and 70 Thai exhibitors are taking part in the South Asia Travel and Tourism Exchange (SATTE 2019) at the India Expo Mart in Delhi. The contingent of Thai exhibitors is the largest ever, up from 54 in 2018.

TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said the expo provides a showcase for an extensive range of products and facilities catering to many different market segments of Indian buyers.

This year marks the 11th year of Thailand's presence at SATTE. The 70 exhibitors include 28 hotels and resorts, 21 tour operators and travel agents, five airlines, and 16 tourist attractions, plus related agencies.

The growing sophistication and maturity of the Indian traveller has presented an opportunity to promote Thailand's diverse range of niche-market products for women travellers, high-net-worth individuals, weddings and honeymoons, and family groups.

Mr Yuthasak said Indian travellers are venturing beyond Bangkok and Pattaya to new destinations such as Chiang Rai, Rayong, Trat, Hua Hin and Samut Songkhram.

Tanes Petsuwan, deputy governor for marketing communications at the TAT, said India is now one of the top 10 sources of visitor arrivals for Thailand.

Factors contributing to the growth include the rise in middle-income Indians and a short travel time of 3-4 hours by air.

Bilateral airline capacity is at an all-time high, with 307 weekly flights between Thailand and 16 major cities in India on 13 airlines: Thai Airways International, Bangkok Airways, Air India, Thai Smile, Bhutan Airlines, Druk Air, Jet Airways, Air Asia, Spice Jet, Thai Lion Air, Indigo, NokScoot and GoAir.

The TAT also credited the government's waiver of the 2,000-baht fee for visa on arrival from Nov 15, 2018 to April 30 this year. The waiver applies to 21 nationalities, including Indian.

The TAT has two offices in India (New Delhi and Mumbai) and is expanding marketing representation and services to secondary cities like Ahmedabad, Chandigarh and Pune.

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