Thailand to soon launch travel bubble with India

Thailand will soon launch a travel bubble with India, aiming to attract high-value young Indian visitors who can make a significant contribution to the recovery of its tourism-dependent economy.

Passengers look at a flight schedule screen at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. (Photo: AFP/VNA)
Passengers look at a flight schedule screen at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. (Photo: AFP/VNA)

The country’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) on February 11 approved a proposal on the Thai-Indian Air Travel Bubble (ATB), in which extra convenience will be offered to air passengers travelling between the two countries, despite some remaining COVID-19 restrictions, said CCSA spokesman Taweesilp Visanuyothin.

Airlines and ticket agents together with COVID-19 control authorities will play a key role in this bilateral tourism promotion campaign, he said.

About 1.9 million Indian tourists came to Thailand in 2019, a 25 percent increase from the previous year, according to figures from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.

They each spent seven days and 44,700 THB (1,400 USD) in Thailand on average, he said.

In 2019, this generated about 80 billion THB for Thailand's tourism income, a 20-percent rise from the previous year when India had already become Thailand's third-largest tourism market, with over 300 flights from India to Thailand, the spokesman added.

Indian visitors represent Thailand's hope for the recovery of tourism, said Somsong Sachaphimukh, vice president of both the Tourism Council of Thailand and the Indian-Thai Chamber of Commerce.

The ministry previously forecast 20 percent growth in number of Indian visitors to Thailand by 2030, while the World Bank projected that 83 million Indian tourists would be travelling overseas by that same year, up from 24 million in 2017, Somsong said.