Is the Visa on arrival facility now available for Indian travellers?
Thailand has temporarily cancelled a COVID-19 quarantine waiver for foreign visitors and reinstated its quarantine requirement out of fear that the Omicron variant of the coronavirus will set off new waves of infections. At the start of November Thailand had reopened to fully vaccinated travellers from more than 60 countries, ending 18 months of border closures that gutted the country’s economically vital tourist industry. Under this “test and go” scheme, known officially as Thailand Pass, visitors were required to isolate for a night until they returned a negative COVID-19 test, after which they could travel freely around the country.
What are your expectations from the India market amidst gradual reopening?
India, since always has been an extremely important source market for us. It holds a prominent position in the list of top 5 important markets for Thailand and our expectations, including that of our head office, are always high where India is concerned. In 2019, India was the fastest and the largest growth market for us wherein we received close to 2 million Indian tourists. This figure marked a 24.85% growth in Indian arrivals as compared to 2018. With all the support from the travel trade fraternity in India and also as a result of our independent surveys, we do hope that India will be one of the fastest growing market for us and we will see good traffic from the destination once things open up and restrictions ease up. Also, according to the report by BOTT Travel Sentiment Tracker, 66% millennial travellers are willing to travel to Thailand as soon as it opens up. With COVID-19 vaccination drives picking up steam across the world, bringing hope to millions that an end to the pandemic is on the horizon, 73% millennials would prefer to go to international destinations with fewer Covid cases wherein a majority would like to travel to Thailand. This news was very re-assuring to us.
What kind of response TAT is receiving on the sandbox program?
The response to sandbox program has been good and tourist inflow has gradually picked up under the same. Phuket opened to travel under the sandbox program on July 1 and until October 13, it had received 46,621 international tourists. While concerns on travel restrictions and complete opening up of the tourist places continues to remain, people are slowly shedding their inhibitions and travelling to Thailand. At TAT, we are very clear about the information we communicate to the media and we believe in complete transparency so I am glad to share that things have started to warm up and with the quarantine restriction going down to 7 days instead of 14, the tourism scenario looks positive for the future.
What are the promotional and marketing plans of the authority to attract Indian travellers and keep Thailand as ‘top of the mind’ destination?
Our main priority at the moment is to have a direct flight started between the two countries at the earliest possible. We are pushing for connectivity to open and are hopeful that by November, flight operations will start between India and Thailand. We will then go for promotional campaign for which we have started the segmenting our tourism sectors and will be promoting each of them in a planned manner. We would be starting our promotions with the weddings segment as many couples still have Thailand on their mind when it comes to unique customised wedding experience. This will be followed by promoting Golf in Thailand and then others will follow suit,
Expected inbound numbers from India once borders open up?
Once the borders open up and commercial flights start operating between the two countries, we are looking at welcoming good number of tourists from India. From October 2021 – March 2022 we are looking at receiving around 91,000 Indian travellers.
What were the inbound numbers like pre-Covid from India?
India was the high growth market in 2019 with an increase of +24.85% compare to 2018 which Thailand welcome 1,598,346 tourists from India. This is due to increase of flights capacity, connectivity and frequency as well as waive off Visa on Arrival which make travel to Thailand easy and convenience. Total of 1,995,516 Indian tourists visited Thailand in 2019.
What are their top five countries from where they get tourists and where does India stand on this list?
Total number of international tourist coming to Thailand in 2019 = 39,797,406
Top five countries are:
(1) China = 10,994,721
(2) Malaysia = 4,166,868
(3) India = 1,995,516
(4) Korea = 1,887,853
(5) Japan = 1,806,340