PHUKET, 13 June 2022: Indian travel companies say the Thailand Pass scheme is no longer an obstacle for travellers, and having more direct air links from Indian citifies to the island of Phuket will boost visits from India.
Participating in the Thailand Travel Mart Plus (TTM+) 2022, held in Phuket last week, Indian travel agencies said they are seeking new travel products for the luxury end of the market to serve Indian honeymooners and ‘event’ travellers.
But the biggest plus factor supporting the sales of Phuket holidays are direct air links to the Thai holiday island from key Indian cities, including Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, and Delhi.
Vayu Seva Tours & Travel Private Limited CEO Sajjan Kumar Gupta said that since travel restrictions eased, the Indian traveller market has responded very well as overseas trips resumed after a two-year hiatus.
“We have got an average daily of around 800 seats out of Kolkata to Thailand. And we’re doing almost 70% plus occupancy from Kolkata. I am praying that the direct flight from India remains flying. If the flights are there, definitely customers will visit Phuket.”
He added that at the TTM+, he was sourcing luxury travel products, especially pool villas, to attract Indian travellers with high purchasing power.
Travel costs have risen around 10 to 15% worldwide, but travellers are prepared for the increase and are keen to resume their holiday plans put on hold by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Airwing International Travels CEO Rajesh Kamat said the company has been seeing an uptick in demand after 1 June, when Thailand eased its travel requirements, saying it would bode well for MICE travel in the upcoming summer months.
“Returning to TTM+ this year, we focused on sourcing new travel products, which is trending after the two years of Covid,” he explained. “Meanwhile, direct flights to Phuket from Mumbai, Bangalore, and Delhi make it more convenient. We are concentrating on selling trips of four nights in Phuket and two nights in Krabi.”
Euphoria World Travels Pvt Ltd managing director Varun Modi said the beaches, mountains, and Thai culture remain top Thai travel products for clients. In the pre-Covid era, the company sent 5,000 people to Thailand annually, with MICE and wedding groups being the two main markets.
“Selling Thailand is becoming easier as the awareness has been established and restrictions have been eased. Also, Phuket offers a wide range of products, from beachside villas and conventions to sports and entertainment that can cater to the needs of event travellers and honeymooners.”
Indian travellers are Thailand’s top priority market following the collapse of travel from Russia and the ongoing lockdown of China’s outbound travel market. India is a standout market that currently offers the best opportunities for Thai travel content providers. Still, it might be overly optimistic to think India could compensate for the market losses in China and Russia.
Statistics from the Thailand Pass showed that from 1 January to 24 May 2022, 100,884 Indian travellers arrived in Thailand under the scheme. Meanwhile, since the Thai government has eased some travel restrictions and closed down the Test & Go programme, the country claims to have welcomed 3,000 Indian tourists daily.
In 2019, Thailand received 1.96 million tourists from India, decreasing to 261,730 in 2020 and 6,544 in 2021. This year, the Tourism Authority of Thailand expects a strong rebound and aims to attract at least 500,000 tourists from India, generating THB22.5 billion baht in revenue for the country.
The government agency said there’s a possibility that Indian tourist arrivals could reach 600,000, generating THB27 billion in revenue this year, but that is not in the hands of TAT to deliver.
It remains firmly a delivery for India’s tour operators to achieve, depending on outside factors. Thailand must keep the doors wide open regarding visas and entry rules. Airlines will need to deliver the seating capacity, possibly tripling the flights to Thailand’s key resorts and Bangkok over the next few months. Given those factors, India’s tour operators can accomplish the rest.