Indian tourist influx in Thailand surpasses expectations due to visa exemptions

A significant influx of Indian tourists has been recorded in Thailand, reaching an impressive 1.5 million so far this year, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). This figure surpasses the authority’s initial target, thanks to a newly introduced visa exemption scheme for Indian travellers.

TAT’s Executive Director of ASEAN, South Asia, and South Pacific Region, Patsee Permvongsenee, disclosed that the visa exemption, which went into effect on November 10 this year and will last until May 10, next year, has led to a daily increase in Indian arrivals. This number has risen from 4,000 people to a bracket of 5,000-5,500 individuals.

To further enhance the flow of tourists from India, TAT’s offices in New Delhi and Mumbai have intensified promotional campaigns in partnership with local stakeholders. These campaigns primarily target corporate and incentive groups, golfers, and wedding and honeymoon groups, identified as high-potential demographics. Patsee made this announcement during a special ceremony honouring the inaugural flight of Air India from New Delhi to Phuket.

Phuket Governor Sophon Suwannarat, along with TAT executives, officials from Phuket airport, government agencies, and private firms were present to welcome Indian visitors aboard flight AI378. Starting from the day of the event, Air India will operate four flights per week on the New Delhi-Phuket route.

The airline will deploy an A320 Neo Airbus, with a capacity of 162 passengers per flight, for this route. The flights will leave New Delhi on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. The frequency will be increased to daily flights from January.

The introduction of direct flights along this route will boost the air-seat capacity between India and Thailand to 2,438,043 seats, a remarkable 77% rebound from the pre-coronavirus-pandemic figure of 1992.

Between January 1 and December 10 this year, the 1. million Indian arrivals in Thailand have been recorded with an average spending of 39,500 baht per person per trip. The majority of these tourists, accounting for 75%, were Free Independent Travellers (FIT), with the popular destinations being Bangkok, Chon Buri, Phuket, Krabi, and Phang Nga.

Air India

Monchai Tanode, director of Phuket Airport, disclosed that Air India will operate seven flights per day after the new year. Currently, India ranks third in passenger arrivals, trailing Russia and China.

Lerdchai Wangtrakoondee, director of TAT’s Phuket office, expressed optimism that the inaugural New Delhi-Phuket flight will boost the island resort province’s Indian market. India has now moved up to the third position from fourth, with approximately 1,000 Indian tourists visiting Phuket daily. From January to November, the island province welcomed 235,070 Indian arrivals, reported Bangkok Post.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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