• Sunday, April 21, 2024


Thailand looks to lure more Indian tourists with visa-free entry, bigger planes

Siriporn Tantipanyathep, consul general of Royal Thai in India’s Kolkata, said 1.6 million Indian visitors went to Thailand last year and the target this year is to make it 1.8 million.

Passengers wait outside the Thai Airways ticket counter at the Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok, Thailand. (Photo by LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Twinkle Roy

INDIAN tourists’ footfall in Thailand has increased after the South-east Asian nation came up with a visa-free entry for Indians for six months starting November 10 last year, the Thai consul general in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata has said.

Siriporn Tantipanyathep, consul general of Royal Thai, said while celebrating Songkran, the Thai New Year festival, at a hotel in New Town in the city, that 1.6 million Indian visitors went to Thailand last year and this year, the country is expecting to see that figure go up to 1.8 million, The Telegraph newspaper published from Kolkata reported.

She also said that most of the Indian visitors are from the eastern part of the country since it takes less time from there to reach Thailand, the news outlet added.

The celebration of the festival was organised by SKAL International, Kolkata, a platform for tourism professionals globally, and the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

After UNESCO recognised Songkran as a part of Thailand’s Intangible Cultural Heritage this year, the country has decided to celebrate the festival for three weeks instead of the usual three-day long fete.

Read: India, Thailand foreign ministers meet to expand ties

“After the UNESCO recognition, the government has decided to celebrate the festival for 21 days in 2024, instead of three days. The celebration of the Songkran festival will open opportunities for tourists to take part in the celebration and that will give boost to Thai tourism. The celebration will also enable tourists to experience the Thai culture,” an official at the Thai consulate general was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.

According to Tantipanyathep, tourism in Thailand is gradually growing after the country declared visa-free entry (for Indians),”

“We believe that the number of visitors will increase more as the Thai Airways has bigger aircraft to accommodate more visitors from Kolkata,” she told the news outlet.

Read: Buddha’s relics flown to Thailand from India for Makha Bucha Day

The Telegraph reported last weekend that Thai Airways will fly B772 or B787 (Boeing) aircraft instead of the regular A325 (Airbus) plane, on the Kolkata-Bangkok route daily between April 1 and May 1.

The Boeing B777-200 aircraft has 30 Royal Silk class (business class) seats and 262 economy class seats. The Boeing 787-800 aircraft has 22 Royal Silk class seats and 234 economy class seats, the airline said in its communication.

Amin Asghar, president of SKAL International, Kolkata, said they are expecting more tourists from Kolkata heading for Thailand this summer due to the visa-free entry facility and bigger aircraft introduced by Thai Airways.

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