Air travel bubble between Thailand and India approved, set to start later this month

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The Cabinet has approved an air travel bubble between Thailand and India, government deputy spokesperson Ratchada Thanadirek announced on Tuesday (Mar 1).

The move is seen as an important step in the post-pandemic recovery of Thailand’s beleaguered tourism industry.

The air travel bubble, which is expected to begin later this month, applies to commercial flights between the two countries.

As part of the agreement, Thai, Indian, Bhutanese and Nepalese nationals, as well as foreigners who have been granted visas for either Thailand or India will be able to travel between the countries.

Airlines will be required to screen all passengers in accordance with the COVID-19 preventative measures stipulated by each country.

In 2019, 2 million Indian tourists visited Thailand, up from 1.59 million in 2018.

India has been identified by the Thai government as a key region to help increase tourism in Thailand.

Before COVID-19, the Thai government had waived the visa-on-arrival (VOA) fee of 2,000 baht for Indian tourists, which spurred a 25.6% growth year-on-year on arrivals from India.

Indian tourists tend to visit Thailand all year round, but most visit in November and December, data from the Tourism Authority of Thailand has shown.

Most tourists from India to Thailand are independent travellers with families, who like to visit beaches and attractions, such as theme parks, water parks and zoos.

On average, Indian tourists spend between 5 and 7 days in Thailand , spending around 5,700 baht per day or 45,600 per trip.

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