ThailandVisitor arrivals from India rose by 25% in Q1 2019.

Thailand’s visa fee exemption spurs jump in Indian travellers

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Thailand visa fee waiver 190515
In 2018, tourism receipts from the India market totalled 66 billion baht, a 16% increase from the year before. Photo Credit: CraigRJD/GettyImages
Thailand visa fee waiver 190515

The visa fee exemption, roughly 4,000 to 5,000 rupees, is an attractive tool to draw first-time visitors to Thailand, as opposed to other neighbouring markets.

While Thailand’s decision to waive visa-on-arrival fees has done little to boost declining arrival numbers from China, the move has spurred a jump in Indian tourist arrivals.

The fee exemption, which began in November last year, was cited as one of the key reasons why Indian tourist arrivals jumped by 25% to 450,000 in the first quarter of 2019, according to a report on Bangkok Post. This is compared to the slight drop of 2.1% to 3.1 million visitors from China within the same period. 

Furthermore, the number of Chinese visitors who used the services of members from the Association of Thai Travel Agents (Atta) dropped by 13.6% to 1.05 million between January 1 and April 20. Conversely, Atta reported a 11% increase — that’s 76,300 visitors — from India during the same period. 

Chinnarat Chinburi, a committee member of Atta, said the India market has been growing steadily over the past decade, by five- to 10% a year thanks to its huge population of some 1.3 billion. 

Improving economy and the growing middle class are all factors leading to more Indian packing up and travelling abroad. 

The visa fee exemption, roughly 4,000 to 5,000 rupees, is an attractive tool to draw first-time visitors to Thailand, as opposed to other neighbouring markets.

In 2018, tourism receipts from the India market totalled 66 billion baht, a 16% increase from the year before. To cash in on the market, Chinnarat suggests that Thai operators provide products to meet their demand, such as Indian cuisine and vegetarian or vegan food options. 


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