Connect with us

Tourism

Thailand’s changing tourist demographic – the Indians

Thaiger

Published 

 on 

Take a walk around the markets of Pratunam in downtown Bangkok and you’ll soon discover there’s a new type of tourist in town. For years, Thailand’s tourism scene was dominated by Chinese visitors, with 10.5 million in 2018 alone, accounting for about 28% of total foreign arrivals. It still is.

But after the tour boat Phoenix, carrying mostly Chinese tourists, sank off the southern coast of Phuket in July last year, killing 47, the number of visitors from China, which had been increasing every year, began to decline.

In their wake, the number of tourists from India is now starting to increase, with a record 180,000 visiting in June alone, according to the Thai tourism ministry. More direct flights, a visa-fee waiver and, most importantly, increasing middle class wealth, is spurring on the number of Indian arrivals. The Tourism Authority of Thailand says those arrivals are up more than 20% for the first five months of 2019, compared to last year.

Arrivals from China, meanwhile, were 4% down over the same period, still equating to 4.8 million tourists, whereas just 787,195 came from India.

The rapid expansion of India’s middle class is prompting Thai tourism officials to raise their estimates of how many visitors will come from India, with its population of 1.3 billion. At least 10 million are now expected to arrive by 2028, a more than five-fold increase. That sort of growth trajectory would mimic the rise of Chinese tourists, from 800,000 in 2008 to more than 10 million last year.

Preecha Champi, a Thai Hotels Association board member, sas Indian tourists differed from Chinese ones in that they rarely came as part of a tour group because they are already confident in their English.

“The Indian market shares a lot of similarities with the Chinese. Visitors from both countries can fly here in 3 to 4 hours, they have about the same population and have experienced GDP growth, but there are 600 million Indians who are younger than 25 years old and we think this group of people will be part of the future of Thai tourism.”

In addition to visiting Thailand, Indians are increasingly choosing the country as the location of their weddings – with some 200 Indian couples tying the knot there each year, according to the TAT.

“Couples and their families spend around 8 to 9 million baht per wedding package at Thailand’s five-star hotels in Bangkok, Hua Hin, Phuket and Pattaya.”

“There could be some 300 to 400 guests who fly in for three to four nights of celebrations and they consider Thailand a very cost-effective destination to host a wedding.”

When not splashing the cash on their nuptials, however, Indian visitors have gained a reputation as hard bargainers. In the Indra market in Pratunam, for example, a stallholder was recently seen pleading for an extra 20 baht after a group of Indian men haggled hard to get the price of four plastic raincoats down from 156 baht down to just 100.

Ping, a souvenir seller in Pattaya, said Indian tourists “don’t have to spend a lot to enjoy shopping in Thailand”.

“While the Chinese who come with a tour group only spend money where the group makes a stop, the Indians mostly shop at any market.”

Nonetheless, Chinese shoppers still contribute more to Thailand’s economy than any other foreign nationality. Last year, they spent some 120 billion baht, accounting for about 24% of total tourist expenditure.

India is projected to overtake China as the world’s most populous nation in eight years, and its middle class is forecast to keep expanding, so many in Thailand’s tourism industry are now looking west for the fuel of future growth.

SOURCE: Pattaya One

 

Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

If you have story ideas, a restaurant to review, an event to cover or an issue to discuss, contact The Thaiger editorial staff.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand3 mins ago

The list of high/medium/low risk countries for travelling to Thailand now

World45 mins ago

Rare, giant barking deer makes appearance in Cambodia

Coronavirus (Covid-19)49 mins ago

Anutin says health system won’t collapse despite shortages

Phuket Sandbox July 1st

days
hours
minutes
seconds

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
World1 hour ago

Fire at Chinese martial arts school kills 18, mainly kids

Thailand2 hours ago

Man allegedly steals almost 300,000 baht from monk

Thailand3 hours ago

Illegal cigarette shipment busted, valued at 30 million baht

Thailand5 hours ago

Pair arrested for allegedly stealing prepaid phone cards worth 240 million baht, take home almost 150

Best of5 hours ago

Top 5 Indian Restaurants in Bangkok

Phuket6 hours ago

A Korean restaurant catches fire at a Phuket shopping centre

Best of6 hours ago

Top 10 Provinces to visit in Thailand

Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 hours ago

Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine approved for emergency use in Thailand

World6 hours ago

1 dead 99 unaccounted for in Florida building collapse

World7 hours ago

Airlines participate in trials of IATA Travel Pass app

Best of7 hours ago

Top 8 Street Foods in Thailand

World7 hours ago

A bed in the sky: Shanghai opens world’s highest luxury hotel

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending