The head of the Association of Thai Travel Agents, Wichit Prakorpkoson, has said that he expects tourism from India to increase markedly over the next 10 years. By 2028, he expects 10 million visitors annually from the sub-continent.
While the increase in Chinese tourism is expected to slow from previous trends, there will still be 20 million visitors from there in 10 years, he claimed. He has also called for the free visas on arrival to be extended from January to after Songkran and conditions made easy for tourists to visit neighboring countries of Thailand. Indian weddings in Thailand are Big Business He said that he expected Chinese tourism to be back to normal by January 2019 after the downturn of the previous four months.
He expects figures to show 10.5 million visitors from China this year among the 38 million total arrivals. He said that 20% growth in Chinese tourism year on year was no longer likely but he expected 11-11.5 million Chinese to come in 2019. Future rises are more likely to be between 5-10%, meaning that 20 million Chinese could be coming by 10 years time. What he expected was a dramatic surge in Indian tourism that stands at 1.5 million visitors now. He expected this to go up 20% a year and be 3 million visitors annually in five years time and 10 million in 10 years time.
Tourism and Sports Minister Weerasak Kowsurat revealed also that requests have been made and granted for an increase in flights from India into Phuket and Don Muang airports. Slots have been found but overnight parking for the aircraft remains a pressing issue, he said. He also wants to make renting vehicles easier for tourists by making temporary licenses easier to get and doing away with fines levied on people renting to those without licenses.
ATTA’s Wichit said that the government’s waiver of fees for visa on arrival for 20 nations was having a positive effect – this includes Chinese nationals who do not have to pay 2,000 THB at the moment. He called on the scheme to be extended from Jan. 13 to after Songkran in April. He also asked the government to consider the issue of re-entry permits and extend these to two months to enable visitors to Thailand to visit neighboring countries with more ease.
– Thai Rath