Thailand hopes to boost its tourism revenue to 600 billion-700 billion baht ($16 billion-$19 billion) by the end of the year, by targeting high-spending groups such as Indian wedding parties and honeymooners, A senior tourism official said.
Thailand, which is famous for its white sandy beaches and nightlife, hopes to respond to the “catch-up demand” of the Indian marriage industry, which accounts for billions of dollars, Siripakorn Cheawsamoot, deputy governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, told Reuters in an interview this week.
“Data from the last two years showed that many Indian couples got married, but could not find honeymoon locations … or postponed their wedding because they wanted to hold their reception abroad, including in Thailand,” he said on Tuesday.
Income from foreign tourism from January to 28 aug. amounted to 186 billion baht from 4.2 million visitors, and for the whole year 10 million arrivals are expected.
The Southeast Asian country relies heavily on tourism as an engine of economic growth. The number of foreign arrivals plummeted to just 428,000 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, compared to a record nearly 40 million in 2019, when tourism accounted for 12% of GDP.
Now that the government has dropped most of the restrictions related to the pandemic, it is aiming for revenues of $ 11 billion in the second half of 2022.
Indian weddings in Thailand can cost 10 million to 30 million baht, as they can last up to a week and include everything from event planning to catering, decoration and transportation.
About 60% of Indian destination weddings in Thailand were those of residents of India, while the rest came from overseas Indian families, he said, which is why Thai tourism representatives in Mumbai and New Delhi are busy expanding partnerships with wedding planners.
Siripakron expects tourists to spend at least 48,000 baht per trip this year, and in 2023 he hopes that number will rise to 50,000 baht per trip, helped by other high-spending segments such as medical tourism and executives who choose to work remotely in Thailand.
The government will also extend some tourist visas from October from 15 to 30 days, as the behavior of travelers changes in favor of a longer stay due to the expensive flights and low availability, he said.