India replaces China as Thailand’s top tourism market: TAT
Indians have become the largest group of tourists to Thailand, with more than 100,000 arrivals so far this year, with potentially up to 600,000 by year-end, a senior Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) official said.
Thanet Phetsuwan, TAT deputy governor of marketing for Asia and the South Pacific, said on Friday that his agency expects 500,000 Indian tourists to enter Thailand this year, generating an estimated 22.5 billion baht in revenue.
He added that arrivals from India will likely top 600,000, creating revenue of up to 27 billion baht.
“If things go like this, India will become the No 1 market for Thai tourism,” Thanet said.
In 2019, the year before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, 1.96 million Indians had visited Thailand. The number shrank to 261,730 the following year and dropped even further to just 6,544 last year.
Between January 1 and May 24 this year, 100,884 Indian nationals entered the Kingdom, according to the Thailand Pass entry registration system. Since the Test & Go requirements were scrapped on May 1, an average of some 3,000 Indian nationals have been entering Thailand every day.
Visitors from the United Kingdom have been the second-largest group this year, with 89,745 arrivals, followed by Germany (74,104), the United States (66,036), and Malaysia (62,192).
As Beijing remains firm with its “zero Covid” policy and bans outbound tourists, India will likely replace China as Thailand’s top tourism market, Thanet said.
“The Chinese government has made no clear move regarding outbound tourists. So, TAT needs to find new markets. India has the potential to be a replacement [for China] as the country has a large population and several flights to Thailand,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn, president of the Association of Thai Travel Agents, said he did not expect China to allow outbound tourists anytime soon, due to its strict “zero Covid” policy. That was why the Thai tourism operators were looking at other markets, he added.
“Thai tourism businesses are seeking opportunities in other Asian markets, like India, Vietnam and South Korea,” Sisdivachr said.