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Thai tourism operators call for visa-free entry for Indian visitors

Indian Wedding in Phuket
Indian Wedding in Phuket

Tourism operators are calling for reciprocal visa-free entry between India and Thailand, similar to the recently-introduced arrangement between the kingdom and China.

The vice-president of the Tourism Council of Thailand says India is expected to become the third-largest economy in 2027. Somsong Sachaphimukh adds that the temporary visa exemption currently in place for Indian visitors has spurred that market. She expects this to continue for the remainder of the year as Thailand plans to extend the arrangement for another two years when it ends on May 10.

Somsong expects most of the growth in the Indian market to be driven by the young working population between the ages of 25 and 40, as well as those in the middle-income and highly educated brackets.

According to Somsong, Indian travellers can spend between 60,000 and 100,000 baht on a 7-day trip to Thailand. The market also has significant potential when it comes to hosting business meetings and wedding ceremonies that typically cost between 50 and 100 million baht each.

“Indian tourists typically travel abroad with family and spend a fortune on tourism, either hotel services or shopping.”

While flights continue to resume between Thailand and India, Somsong says she’d like to see Thailand attract direct flights to places other than Phuket, such as Chiang Mai Airport and U-tapao Airport in Chon Buri.

Meanwhile, in Phuket, Indians are in the top five largest arrivals, according to Suksit Suvunditkul, president of the southern chapter of the Thai Hotels Association. During January, the island welcomed 25,524 Indian travellers, only behind Russia and China. The number of Indian visitors surpassed that seen during the same period in 2019 by 15%.

Suksit says this is great news for the island’s hotels, which have been able to increase their rates as a result. He expects to see occupancy in Phuket increase to 90% in February, thanks to Indian travellers and long-haul holidaymakers.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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