Thailand has always been a popular tourist destination among Indians with nearly 2 million people visiting the country in 2019, a growth of 24 per cent over 2018. Little wonder, that a recent BOTT Travel Sentiment Tracker found that 66 per cent millennials were willing to travel to Thailand as soon as it opened. Their wish has come true as starting November 1, certain cities in Thailand are open for Indians provided they pass the COVID-19 test on arrival.
“As of now they can travel to Phuket, Samui Island and Krabi. These are all open to international tourists,” says Vachirachai Sirisumpan, Director, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) New Delhi.
Sirisumpan says that in Phuket, 77 per cent of the population has had two doses of the vaccine while 44 per cent has also had the booster shot. So now under the ‘Sandbox’ programme, Indians visiting Phuket need not quarantine but they need to be in Phuket for minimum 7 days before they can visit any other city. If they wish to be only in Phuket, they can be there for less than 7 days. Bangkok is not open for tourists as of now.
“Visa on arrival is back. We are looking forward to welcoming tourists from India to Thailand,” says Sirisumpan. “We are looking at reopening Pattaya, Chiang Mai and hopefully Bangkok as well. But only after over 60 per cent population is vaccinated,” he adds.
Sirisumpan says that Indians are big spenders. They spend a lot on shopping. Younger Indians spend on pool villas and good restaurants. Indians on an average spend $1500 per trip per person. They on an average stay for 5-7 days.
“Thailand is also a very popular wedding destination for Indians. We look forward to welcoming everyone.” However, as of now there are no direct flights between India and Bangkok, though they are supposed to start soon, as per Sirisumpan.
Thailand still faces some COVID-19 restrictions and, hence, only certain cities are open for tourists. As of October 29, there have been almost 1.9 million confirmed cases and over 19,000 deaths reported in the country, according to the World Health Organization. The infection rate has halved since August, when the highest daily average of more than 20,000 new cases was reported.
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