Thailand expects a windfall from the Indian tourist market if travellers stay away from the Middle East and turn eastward instead.
Executive Director of the ASEAN, South Asia, and South Pacific Markets under the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said the ongoing Iran-US conflict could affect Indian travellers’ confidence, resulting in their shunning of Dubai for Thailand to avoid the Middle East.
Dubai is the most preferred destination for outbound Indian tourists, with 2.1 million visitors in 2019.
Thailand estimated that 1.9 million tourists came from India in 2019, a 22 percent uptick from 2018, generating 84 billion THB (2.77 billion) in revenue, up 27 percent, according to the TAT.
The agency sees a growth rate of 10 percent to 2.2 million tourists this year from this huge South Asian market.
Although the TAT anticipates flourishing demand, the growth rate is unlikely to exceed 20 percent because airlines are at full capacity under available traffic rights and seats are limited, Klissada said.
Currently, ten airlines are offering 311 flights with 65,128 seats a week from Thailand to 13 cities in India.
In addition, the government has been urged to consider extending the 2,000-THB visa-on-arrival fee waiver that ends on April 30, as Indians benefit from the policy.
India is a promising market for Thailand, with Indian tourists ranking in the top three in international arrivals last year and in the top five highest contributing markets by revenue.
Tourism is a major source of revenue for Thailand, worth about one-fifth of the economy. Meanwhile, earnings from foreign tourists contribute some 12 percent to the GDP.