With a substantial 20 per cent increase in Indian arrivals in the first five months of this year, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is aiming to welcome two million Indians in 2019. This was informed by Charun Ohnmee, Deputy Governor for Policy and Planning, TAT at the last leg of four city Indian roadshows in New Delhi recently. Thailand welcomed 1.6 million Indian visitors in 2018.
With a consistent growth in arrivals, TAT is now putting a lot of efforts for sustainable tourism. Ohnmee informed that Thailand has moved from being a mass tourism destination to a value-for-money destination and now looking at quality tourism to follow the practices of responsible and sustainable tourism. “We have changed the perception of being a cheap destination. We now set our target as tourism revenue only. We do not focus about the number of tourists going to Thailand. We do advertising, broadcast new messages to people and then talk to people on supply side. We tell them that we need quality tourism,” the Deputy Governor said.
Drawing his opinion on a report suggesting Thailand’s aims to receive 10 million Indian tourists by 2028, he said that TAT is looking at India market too seriously with a focussed marketing and promotional strategy for India. “India and Thailand are quite close because we have a strong faith in our strong and similar culture. So, Indians love to visit Thailand,” said.
Recalling the arrival trends from India, Ohnmee looked optimistic to accomplish the target. However, he agreed to the fact that the entitled seats between India and Thailand under the existing aviation bilateral has almost exhausted. Currently, there are more than 300 weekly flights between India and Thailand.
The consistent rise in Indian arrivals to Thailand is due to the directed marketing strategy of TAT for this market. “Now we are focusing on leisure, family and wedding segments. We have to look now for millennials, female and solo tourists, MICE, senior citizens, Golf and honeymooner,” he added. TAT has always been coming up with segment wise marketing strategy for India and it has produced desired result. “We have developed microsites to promote different segments. We have developed a micro-website for first time visitors to Thailand. The site gives all relevant information to first time visitors and is getting very good response from India,” Isra Stapanaseth, Director of TAT New Delhi Office said.
Replying to a question over performance of TAT in China and European market, Ohnmee said, “It is completely different. I think number of tourists from European market is about 6.5 million. China is quite close to us and they can travel year around. China has a large middle class and we are a big market for them. We did not put more money and efforts for the Chinese market,” Ohnmee said and added that the profile of European travellers is quite different. “We try to upgrade our supply side and constantly improving to meet up their requirements. They come to Thailand from September up to March. So, for this period, we try to find some joy activities and do more promotions to draw more European tourists,” he informed.
Pinki Arora, Executive Director, Direct Representation – responsible of marketing Thailand in North and East India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal, informed that TAT is actively looking at tier -II & III cities in India to maintain the growth trends to Thailand. “We are getting very good response from cities like Chandigarh, Amritsar, Pune, Nagpur, Lucknow, Jaipur, and Ahmedabad amongst others,” Arora said.
India currently ranks at 6th position as a source marker for Thailand is at number six source market after China, Malaysia, Lao, South Korea and Japan.
Thailand currently offers free Visa on Arrival for Indians and will continue to do so till October 31, 2019.