TAT aims to steer Indian visitors to up-and-coming destinations

TAT aims to steer Indian visitors to up-and-coming destinations

Mr Chattan (second left) and Mr Klissada (far right) at the opening ceremony for the Thailand pavilion at the South Asia Travel and Tourism Exchange in India.
Mr Chattan (second left) and Mr Klissada (far right) at the opening ceremony for the Thailand pavilion at the South Asia Travel and Tourism Exchange in India.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) plans to spice up demand in the Indian market by adding the fresh taste of new destinations in the western and northeastern regions.

To make hay while the sun shines, as some Indian travellers opt for excursions far away from the Mideast, the agency will introduce a new range of tourism products linking major cities with lesser-known destinations.

Those targeted areas, led by Kanchanaburi in the west and Khao Yai in the Pak Chong district of Nakhon Ratchasima, have abundant natural resources, especially fresh air, said Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, the TAT's deputy governor of marketing for Asia and South Pacific.

Mr Chattan said Indian tourists nowadays are keen to experience other cities, which is made possible by the ability to communicate in English and use smartphones avidly.

Visa facilitation, through exemption from the 2,000-baht visa-on-arrival fee and multiple-entry visas, is necessary to boost the Indian market. These policies will also absorb the risk from baht appreciation and intense competition from other countries eyeing this lucrative market.

Malaysia is offering 15-day visa-free travel via the Electronic Travel Registration and Information (ENTRI) programme to Indian and Chinese citizens until the end of this year.

Klissada Ratanapruk, the TAT's executive director for Asean, South Asia and the South Pacific, said local communities along the riverbank in Samut Songkhram, such as the Damnoen Saduak floating market, represent emerging destinations for the Indian market.

Meanwhile in the eastern region, Pattaya will be the starting point to lure people off the beaten track to Rayong, Chanthaburi and Trat.

Moving northward, Chiang Rai will use the advantage of proximity to Chiang Mai to let tourists taste the rich culture and local foods such as khao soi, a northern-style curry noodle dish popular among Indians.

"These provinces can facilitate tourists with a good transport system and various types of foods based on religions' dietary restrictions, and can also serve them with convenience stores," Mr Klissada said.

The average length of stay for the Indian market is seven days. Spending of roughly 44,000 baht per trip in 2019 was up from 42,000 baht in the year before, as Indian tourists tended to consume higher-quality services and products in the "shopping paradise" of Bangkok, including clothing and fashion accessories.

The TAT brought operators to promote Thai tourism at this week's 27th edition of the South Asia Travel and Tourism Exchange (SATTE) at the India Expo Mart in Greater Noida near New Delhi.

Thailand's pavilion features 36 hotels and resorts, 29 tour operators, 13 attractions and four airlines. Of the total, 20 are new attendees at the trade show.

South Asia's biggest travel and tourism trade show drew 1,050 exhibitors from 50 countries and is expected to receive 50,000 visitors this year.

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