Here’s some quick big news coming from Thailand for Indian citizens! Now you can easily travel to Thailand without giving a forethought to visa hassles. Indian and Taiwanese citizens will be granted a temporary visa exemption for a 30-day stay for tourism purposes in Thailand. This condition will be effective from 10 November 2023 till 10 May 2024.
So, if you are planning a fun vacation in Thailand this is the ideal time. This is because Thailand has exempted Indian tourists from the visa process for a temporary period.
Thailand as a Tourist Destination – Complete Overview
Thailand is an exotic Southeast Asian country that is known for its tropical beaches, exquisite royal palaces, and ancient ruins. The traditional ornate temples display figures of Buddha and the iconic temples of Wat Arun, Wat Pho, and the Emerald Buddha Temple.
Bangkok, the capital of Thailand is an ultramodern city. Modernity is actually in sync with the quiet canalside communities here. There are several beach resorts including the bustling Pattaya and fashionable Hua Hin.
Thailand is one of the world’s top-notch travel destinations. The country is well-known for its cultural uniqueness. There is delectable food, beautiful landscapes, and a rich cultural heritage.
If we discuss tourism in Thailand, it started to organize its tourism industry in the late 1950s. During that time, the country had only around 40,000 international tourists per year. Since then it has grown continuously to reach millions, and so have the monetary gains from the tourism industry.
During June 2022, foreign tourism had shown a gradual increase, amounting to over 26 billion Thai baht. Tourism has not only brought employment opportunities but major business expansions for Thai companies in the tourism sector. If we go by the figures, over four million people worked in the tourism industry in Thailand since 2017, before the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
Before the pandemic, Thailand was the world’s eighth most visited country as per World Tourism rankings compiled by the United Nations World Tourism Organization. In 2019, Thailand received 39.8 million international tourists. This was more than that of the United Kingdom and Germany. So, it is expected that tourism will be a significant share of Thailand’s GDP.
Why does Thailand need a Tourism Boost?
Thailand is facing low economic growth due to weak exports. The current government in Thailand hopes that the travel sector can offset this dismal situation. It is targeting about 28 million tourist arrivals this year.
India has been Thailand’s fourth largest source market for tourism so far this year with about 1.2 million arrivals. This is right after Malaysia, China, and South Korea.
Thailand Visa Requirements for Indian citizens
Generally, the following documents are required for a Thailand Tourist Visa from India.
- Passport or travel document with validity not less than 6 months
- Visa application form of Thailand duly filled
- One recent Photograph of the applicant 45mm X 35mm in size
- Round-trip air ticket or e-ticket (paid in full)
- Hotel booking or a local address as proof of accommodation.
- Letter of invitation (as proof of relationship if visiting family or friends).
- Proof of financial means (10,000 baht per person/20,000 baht per family).
- The processing time for Thailand’s visa is approximately 7 working days.
What India can learn about Tourism from Thailand?
Between 2015 and 2019, tourist arrivals to Thailand recorded a whopping increase from 30 million to 40 million. Despite the impact of COVID-19, the country is still expected to attract about 25 million tourists in the present year.
The World Travel and Tourism Council records that the industry amounted to 7.6% of global gross domestic product (GDP) last year, despite COVID effects.
Factors Behind the Success of Thailand Tourism
Thailand’s tourism policies, such as offering visa-free travel for many countries, have contributed to its success. Thailand has been successful in attracting tourists due to its innovative approach to tourism.
The Thai government removed the requirement for the Thailand Pass. This had been a deterrent for tourists due to the need to obtain Thai health insurance. This led to an increase in arrivals in the second half of the year.
After the slowdown from China, the Thai government conducted roadshows across India to increase business.
Challenges of the Indian Tourism Industry
India attracted approximately 11 million tourists in 2019. The number will reduce more if visitors of Indian origin returning to visit family are not counted here.
Government initiatives like ‘Dekho Apna Desh’ campaign are not attractive to foreign tourists and lowering GST for hotels is insufficient to attract foreign travelers.
India needs initiatives like the first Incredible India! advertising campaigns. It carved a place for India from being a backpackers’ destination to being a country loved by the luxury traveler. Repeating the same old campaigns year after year is repetitive. Innovation is the need of the hour.
So, instead of merely adding the number of countries eligible for an e-visa, India could introduce visa-free travel for G20 countries and its Southeast Asian neighbors.
Thailand is keen to boost its tourism sector in several ways. One strategic tactic is the stimulus scheme of expanding visa waivers to countries like India, Taiwan, China, Malaysia, and others. Thailand’s GDP is also expected to grow between 2.7 and 3.6 percent in 2023, from 2.6 percent in 2022, all thanks to the growth in the tourism industry.
Frequently Asked Questions
Indians have been granted a temporary visa exemption for a 30-day stay for tourism purposes in Thailand. This condition will be effective from 10 November 2023 till 10 May 2024.
Thailand offers a Visa on Arrival (VOA) for Indian citizens. This allows them to stay in Thailand for up to 15 days for tourism purposes.
The visa- free entry will be effective from 10 November 2023 till 10 May 2024.