Thailand to focus on Indian tourists as it reopens

Move to treat Covid-19 as endemic likely to follow soon
/ New Delhi
Thailand to focus on Indian tourists as it reopens

Press meet to announce reopening of Thailand to Indian visitors (IO photos)

In anticipation of a sharp spike in tourism traffic from India once the regular commercial flights resume from India later this month, Thailand Ambassador hosted press meet at the Thai Embassy in New Delhi to brief the media about the measures taken by the government to reopen the country to tourists from India, one of its principal markets.
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Tourism Authority of Thailand has unveiled aggressive plans to target a wide variety of tourists from India as the country progressively opens to visitors from all around the world after a closure of nearly two years.

To mark the launch of the marketing campaign in India, Thailand’s Ambassador to India, Pattarat Hongtong hosted a press meet where various stakeholders of Thailand tourism industry, including senior officials of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the government body responsible for tourism promotion, along with representatives of Thai Airways, travel agents’ association and hoteliers’ organisations participated.

Thailand’s Ambassador to India, Pattarat Hongtong (IO photos)

The ambassador spoke of the importance of tourism for the Thai economy and the key importance of India as a source market, which is currently the largest potential market as travel from China remains closed.

Deputy governor of TAT for Asia and South Pacific Tanes Petsuwan unveiled the new campaign of TAT, Amazing New Chapters, that packages the various novelties mounted by Thailand during the pandemic to bring a wholesome new experience to visitors. He also underlined the importance of the Indian market and the wide variety of segments of Indian tourists that have traditionally been travelling to the south-east Asian nation.

Preecha Singh, head of the Association of Thai Travel Agents, spoke of the steps taken by Thai tourism stakeholders to address the challenges that some Indian visitors may have faced in terms of their dietary requirements. “We have now trained chefs who can prepare traditional Indian cuisines suitable for vegetarian, Jain and other diet regimes. Not just Indian cuisine, our chefs can also prepare the Jain or other culinary versions of Thai delicacies to introduce them to our Indian guests,’’ said Singh.

Marketing director of Thai Hotels Association Prachoom Tantiprasertsuk said that one of the most important changes in the way hotels in Thailand did business post-pandemic was a much greater flexibility in terms of bookings and cancellations.

Nitin Sachdeva, India representative of Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau, said that the country was fully geared up to receive Indian corporate tourists for Meetings and Incentives segment, which was already a key driver of traffic from India in the pre-pandemic era. “We have now doubled our MICE destinations in Thailand from 5 to 10 and to introduce the broader offer to our travel and corporate partners in India, we are launching an aggressive marketing campaign,’’ he said, adding that Thailand was already receiving enquiries from the segment in India.

TAT New Delhi Director Vachirachai Sirisumpan expressed hope that with the resumption of regular commercial flights from India, at least 500,000 visitors from India could travel to Thailand this year. “In 2019, just before the pandemic, we did about 2 million and it may take some time to get back there, but we are optimistic about a quick uptake in travel from India,’’ Sirisumpan tells India Outbound.

“Our government held a meeting yesterday and a few decisions have been taken to move towards treating Covid-19 as endemic as a few other countries have done. It will be done in phases and will depend on the number of new cases, which are still about 20,000 per day. We hope that by July 1, this number would be below 1,000, which has been set as the target for declaring as endemic,” Hongtong tells India Outbound.

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