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How Thailand Hopes to Meet Its Goal For 1.7 Million Indian Tourists

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India is one of the most important source markets for Thailand. Pre-Covid, nearly 2 million Indian tourists flocked to Thailand, making India the third-largest source market in 2019. Now, Thailand is looking to bring India back to pre-Covid levels.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand on Thursday hosted a group of more than 8,000 incentive visitors from India. The delegation is part of the authority’s goal of receiving at least 1.7 million Indian visitors this year, it said in a statement. 

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India is one of the most important source markets for Thailand and is also the fastest-growing. In 2023, over 1.6 million Indian travelers visited Thailand, making the country the fourth-largest source market for Thailand. These tourists spent more than THB 63 billion ($1.7 billion). 

In 2024, through February, India ranked fifth among source markets with more than 300,000 tourists traveling to Thailand. In 2023, Thailand was one of the top international destinations for Indians, with Bangkok being the second most popular foreign destination after Dubai, according to travel agency Skyscanner.

Schemes to Attract Indian Travelers

Thailand also introduced a visa waiver for Indian tourists from November 10 last year till May 10, 2024, a scheme that had been put on hold post Covid. 

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Thailand tourism governor Thapanede Kiatphaibool called India a high quality and high spending market, while explaining the reason for resuming the visa exemption for Indian travelers. The governor had then said that the country was evaluating if a visa-free facility could permanently be extended to Indian travelers. 

Apart from this, Thailand’s key strategies to attract Indian tourists include subsidy schemes for incentive, wedding, and celebration groups, the governor said earlier this year at a travel exchange. “Joint promotions with airlines and travel agents will be offered for repeat visitors and golfers,” Kiatphaibool added. 

All-Year-Round Destination

Thailand minister of tourism Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol said, “I am determined to elevate Thailand to be a quality and safe destination that delivers a valuable experience to our visitors from India through Thailand’s soft powers and promotes Thailand to be an all-year-round destination.” 

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Expecting INR 185 billion ($2.2 billion) in tourism receipts from India, Thailand looks to attract over 1.7 million Indian travelers to the country in 2024, as it aims to attract 35 million tourists this year.

In India, Thailand is marketing itself to various segments, including families, millennials, golfers, luxury travelers, incentive groups, as well as wedding and celebrations groups.

Beyond popular destinations like Bangkok, Phuket and Pattaya, the Tourism Authority of Thailand is also promoting destinations like Hua Hin, Kanchanaburi and Khao Yai.

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Thailand also plans to launch special initiatives for senior citizens, women travelers, Gen Z, and LGBTQIA+ travelers. Wellness tours and adventure sports are also segments where the destination is planning to focus. 

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