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Thailand celebrates one million tourist arrivals from India

Amrita Nair Ghaswalla Mumbai | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on February 26, 2016

KobkarnWattanavrangkul, Minister of Tourism & Sports for Thailand

To add more provinces to the tourist map this year.

A record breaking 1 million tourist arrivals from India has ensured that the government of Thailand is to add 12 more provinces to the tourist map this year, aiming to build on the success of last year's tourism inflows.

The decision is expected to help boost the income of local communities and help promote community and agro-tourism in smaller provinces across the nation.

Known for its tropical beaches, opulent royal palaces, and ornate temples, Thailand decided to promote 12 provinces last year, as "hidden gems" that tourists should not miss out on. Going by the immediate jump in revenue, the government has decided to add another 12 provinces this year, according to Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Thailand’s minister for tourism.

In Mumbai, to celebrate the 1,000,000 arrival milestone from India, the minister said Thailand has set a target of 8 per cent increase in Indian tourist arrivals for 2016.

Speaking exclusively to BusinessLine, Wattanavrangkul said, "In 2015, we have registered a 15 per cent increase in tourist arrivals from India. Last year, we did 1,506,000 million tourists. With Indians preferring to stay for a longer duration in Thailand, currently at seven days, we have also clocked an increase of 24 per cent in revenue terms,"

While tourism from other countries to Thailand jumped 24 per cent, revenue from other countries also climbed 25 per cent, the minister added.

"We introduced 12 new provinces last year that are located to the main cities. The revenue from tourists to these provinces increased by 15-20 per cent. This year too, we are going to introduce 12 new provinces, so that tourists need not stick to known areas like Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket," she said.

The minister said the government is keen to emphasise Thailand's unique cultural treasures and "the Thai way of life. Lampang is only an hour's drive from Chiang Mai and is full of culture. These provinces are smaller towns that promise a slower pace of life, and are very authentic in their offerings."

Speaking about the government's efforts to promote community based tourism, the minister said, "We have the best artchitecture in Lampang, the best chicken noodle is in Lampang, and one can ride a horse carriage there. Ratchaburi, another province, is famous for rubies and boasts of the best scenic roads. It also hosts the best Catholic church." Buddhism is the official religion in Thailand.

The government's efforts to drive more visitors to Pattaya has paid off, with officials expecting the city to top 10 million tourists this year. Pattaya is set to add 5 percent more tourists from across the world. The minister added that "repeat Indian tourists to Thailand were looking for exclusivity and peace, and an eco friendly surrounding in order to get a unique insight into Thai life. Just as India offers different flavours, sights, sounds, customs and traditions at every state, Thailand too offers a new world in every province."

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Published on February 26, 2016
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