Phuket, Bangkok & Pattaya top the preferred holiday destinations for Indians

Beach activity is most favourite among the Indian travellers

Safety & Hygiene will be a priority parameter for Indian travellers

The Voice of Chandigarh News| Travel Trade Reporter

Amazing Thailand has always been a favorite holiday destination for Indian travelers. Pristine beaches, beautiful hotels and resorts, world class infrastructure, Indulgent spas, great shopping options, lip-smacking Thai and global restaurants, fun-filled amusement parks, or the perfect location for destination weddings, Thailand has always attracted Indian travelers.

Around 1.9 million Indians visited Thailand in 2019, through a network of 10 airlines spread across 13 Indian cities that connect the two destinations. With a remarkable year on year increase, Thailand had aimed to welcome more and more Indian tourists in 2020. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has greatly affected travel tourism around the world bringing it to a global halt. Despite all the difficulties over the last six months, Tourism Authority of Thailand has been trying to stay afloat and be connected with the travel industry, the travel agents, media as well as travellers around the world through digital platforms and social media. The constant communications and updates have generated a lot of insights on travel-related issues and trends.

One of the main points that came out in various travel researches is that many travelers around the world have complained that they faced more problems if they didn’t have a travel agent to talk to while dealing with cancellations, refunds and rebooking related issues. Taking this into consideration, global travel trend predicts that for International holiday bookings in future, travel agents will be key catalysts and a trusted source, in encouraging travellers and their clients to visit certain destinations for tourism with confidence and ease. Therefore, in an attempt to understand the pulse of the Indian travel trade and to be able to serve them better, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) India Offices conducted a dedicated survey among the travel agents and tour operators in India.

Thanking the agents for participating in the survey, Vachirachai Sirisumpan, Director, Tourism Authority of Thailand, New Delhi said: “The idea was to understand the travel business sentiments from the perspective of our agents who serve their clients on behalf of Amazing Thailand and who will be the frontline point of contact for consumers to resume travel to Thailand under the new normal when restrictions are lifted for international air travel. We always try to keep in touch with our partners with year-round communications through various updates and activities. However, knowing what they think at this critical period was very important for us as we want to strategize our future course of actions keeping our stakeholders in sync. I am very happy that our agents have candidly given their responses which will be very useful to us.”

The #TogetherThailand survey was conducted where about 500 travel agents participated in answering detailed questions on future of outbound tourism and travel sentiment of Indians. The agents were mainly from the metro, Tier I, II, and III cities and between the age group of 25 to 65 years. In most case, owners of the travel agency were the respondents, in certain cases, outbound wing heads also participated in the survey. The details of participants were recorded to understand the volume and nature of the business done by them and especially in which sector the client database belongs namely FIT, GIT, Wedding, Family, Business, Corporate or MICE. The survey was conducted within a period of one month. After carefully verifying the raw data with analytical tools and background checking, 358 refined entries were considered to prepare the key findings of the survey trends.

The survey result revealed that Phuket is the most popular destination to sell among the Indians, followed by Bangkok and Pattaya. According to 75% respondents, Indians will travel internationally once all restrictions are lifted. Travel agents feel that once outbound tourism resumes from India, tourism will pick up to international destinations in 3-6 months. Respondents also felt that Phuket, Bangkok and Pattaya will remain as the top three destinations in Thailand where Indian tourists would like to visit first when the situation normalizes.

The survey also concluded that visiting a beach is the top activity which Indian travellers prefer on their first trip to Thailand. Hygiene and safety measures taken will be a priority concern for travellers when regular travel resumes. The pre-booking trend for Thailand has indicated that 67% of agents feel that Indian travellers are booking their full tour package through a travel agent, which indicates travellers trust travel agents for better service. Going forward, this trend will continue and travellers will prefer booking via a travel agent.

It is important to note that the agents’ responses are reflections of their customers’ choices. The preferences towards Phuket, Pattaya or focus on hygiene or secluded places and more interest in beach activities etc show that people want to get out of their homes, and travel and though the unlock process has started and they are travelling domestically, given the chance, they will opt for their preferred international destination to holiday in, especially when a country like Thailand has maintained the top spot in Covid-19 recovery rating index.

The Together Thailand survey helped the Tourism Authority of Thailand understand what the Indian travel agents based on their clients feedback while trying to understand future travel needs. As Tourism Authority of Thailand maintain regular engagement with the travel trade through regular updates, which in turn helps the agents to pass on required information to their client. It can be expected that vital information from the agents will also help the Tourism Authority of Thailand in shaping its tourism strategies and efforts in a more structured and focus manner.

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