Thanes Petsuwan, Deputy Global Market Manager (Asia and South Pacific) of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), talks about their readiness and expectations for the Indian market.
TAT has set itself a challenging but achievable target of 500,000 visitors from India this year. This is based on the assumption that travel between India and Thailand will soon return to the pre-COVID era. Thailand hopes to see a large number of Indian tourists during this summer holiday from May to June 2022. Excerpts from the interview:
India has been one of the most important markets for Thailand with an annual growth of 25 to 30%. How is TAT positioning itself in India after the pandemic?
The Indian market has always been very important to Thailand, even before the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the fastest growing market in 2019, with Thailand hosting almost 2 million Indian travelers, reflecting a 25% growth. Based on many surveys and according to our partners, Thailand is one of the top destinations that many Indians are looking forward to as their first outbound destination since the pandemic.
As the restrictions were gradually lifted from March 2022, TAT India’s offices in both New Delhi and Mumbai have launched many marketing and promotional activities to showcase Thailand as a preferred and safe place to visit. We have already had FAM trips to Thailand for agents, media, bloggers, influencers, wedding planners and golfers, as well as road shows and product upgrade briefings in Tier I and II cities.
Thailand will continue to position itself as one of the most beloved destinations of Indians with easy accessibility and valuable tourist experiences that can satisfy all travel desires. For the Indian market, we will focus on raising awareness and offering new travel packages to promote Thailand as a responsible and sustainable travel destination.
What are your expectations for the Indian market this year?
Our expectations for the Indian market remain high. In April 2022, after the resumption of international scheduled flights, we saw a sharp increase in the number of arrivals from India to Thailand. In addition, as of May 1, 2022, Thailand has eased entry measures by waiving pre-departure and on-arrival testing for fully vaccinated travelers. Unvaccinated travelers can avoid quarantine by providing proof of a negative PT-PCR test result 72 hours prior to departure. Therefore, we hope to see a large number of Indian tourists during this summer holiday between May and June 2022 and we expect to welcome more Indian tourists as well as promotion and wedding groups by the end of this year.
Given Thailand’s strong position in India, when do you think arrivals from India will return to 2019 levels?
We regularly receive inquiries from both travel agents and travelers traveling in Thailand. The first signs are now very positive. People didn’t go…