India shows promise as continued major visitor source market for Thailand

India shows promise as continued major visitor source market for Thailand

Referring to a recent study conducted by Thomas Cook, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has reported that Thailand is one of the top three destinations Indians say they want to visit abroad. The survey conducted by Thomas Cook in June 2021 discovered that 46 pc of them wanted to travel abroad. Alongside Thailand, the top three destinations they want to visit are Dubai / Abu Dhabi and the Maldives. An earlier survey in April 2021 by InterMiles had found that 65 pc of respondents planned a trip overseas.
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“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 standards that have been employed by Thailand for all visitors,” says Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor.

Looking ahead, TAT is working with two possible scenarios for the Indian outbound travellers based on seat capacity and estimated tourist arrivals from October 1 – December 31, 2021, without a mandatory quarantine.

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 THB 1.09 billion (INR 2.44 billion). 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 THB 187.7 million.

The revenue estimation is based on 2019 records that Indian travellers spent on average seven days on holidays with a trip expenditure of THB 44,688 per person.

Pent-up demand

Meanwhile, the most recent survey conducted by the TAT Mumbai and New Delhi offices on 300 travel agents across India found that 94 pc confirmed pent-up demand from Indian travellers to Thailand once the country reopens to tourism. Some 80 pc said Indian travellers spent on average seven days on holidays and placed priorities on safety and health (33 pc), tourism activities (25 pc) 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 their short holiday period of about seven days.

Market outlook for 2022

Depending on whether Thailand will reopen to Indian travellers in the last quarter of this year, the TAT Mumbai and New Delhi offices continue to place focus on the first movers, including golf, wedding, and millennials.

Phuket remains the top destinations for Indian weddings, followed by Hua Hin, Rayong, and Samui. An Indian wedding, known for their extravaganza feast, cost on average THB 5-6 million with 200-300 participants.

Indian market overview pre-pandemic

In 2019, a total of 1,961,069 Indians travelled to Thailand, generating tourism income of just over 80 billion Baht. In term of arrivals, this represented a growth of 25.48 pc, and in income a growth of 19.96 pc. At that time, there were over 300 weekly flights to Thailand from India, while airlines GoAir and IndiGo also opened direct links to Phuket resulting in more Indian tourists visiting there.

Results from a TAT survey on the Indian market for 2019 showed that 94 pc of travel agents foresaw a demand for travel to Thailand. Escorted groups constitute the largest type of traveller who would visit Thailand in 2021/2022 at 35 pc, followed by small groups at 30 pc, couples and honeymooners at 20 pc, and families with children at 15 pc.

Wedding market segment

Another TAT survey was conducted on the Indian wedding market on leading destination wedding planners from Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore, Surat, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Vadodara, Goa, and Chennai. It showed that Phuket and Krabi were the destinations most considered for a wedding (at 72.41 pc), followed next by Hua Hin and Rayong (65.52 pc), Samui (43.1 pc), Bangkok (25.86 pc), Pattaya (22.41 pc) and others (5.17 pc).

The time period most considered for a wedding in Thailand was January-June 2022, and July-December 2022 (both at 55.17 pc), followed by November-December 2021, (34.48 pc) and September-October 2021 (8.62 pc).

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