Our idyllic southern Thai resort of Phuket is expecting to enjoy a boom in business from India in the aftermath of the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) annual convention to be held between 24-27 September, 2010.
Over 800 of India’s top travel agents are expected to attend the 59th Convention and Annual Conference, known as the Indian Travel Congress 2010. It will present a unique opportunity for the travel industry of Southern Thailand to better understand the Indian outbound market and expand their business contacts in India.
The theme of the convention, “Be… The Game Changer”, is intended to “define and bring out the dynamic rationales of adopting stark new formulas that elevate the business to new horizons.”
TAAI has already circulated an announcement with a vigorous marketing pitch inviting its members to enjoy a few days of “learning, networking, enjoying, talking, reflecting and much more, at a destination that has palm fringed beaches, an island studded sea, set against a backdrop of green hills, coconut groves, and rubber plantations.”
The opening media conference, to be held on 23 September, 2010, at the Dusit Laguna Hotel, will be addressed by Mr Rajji Rai, the TAAI President, Mr Jagdeep Rikhy, Vice President and Mr Suraphon Svetasreni, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand. The opening ceremony will be held on 25 September 2010, with the business sessions to follow the next day.
Mr Suraphon said, “We are very happy to welcome India’s leading travel agents to Phuket. We hope the increased exposure will pave the way for direct flights between our second largest point of entry and various Indian cities, which are less than four hours flying time away.”
India’s largest travel association, TAAI was formed in 1951 and today boasts membership of over 2400 Active; Allied and Associate members comprising of IATA accredited Travel Agencies, Airlines and General Sales Agencies, Hotels, and Tour operators.
In terms of visitor arrivals to Thailand, India is one of the fastest growing source markets and the biggest source market from South Asia. Indian citizens can obtain a visa-on-arrival at all international airports in Thailand and stay for up to 15 days.
The rapid growth is clearly reflected in the statistics. In 2004, arrivals from Indian recorded 300,163 and had nearly doubled by 2009 to 596,529. If this rate of growth continues, Indian arrivals are projected to cross the one million mark by 2013.
In January–July 2010, the number of Indian visitor arrivals to Thailand totalled 405,389, up by 20 per cent over the same period of 2009. Thailand is enjoying huge popularity among Indian niche markets; such as, weddings and honeymooners.
There has also been rapid growth in aviation access. Currently, there are 125 direct weekly services between Bangkok and major Indian cities including Delhi (41), Kolkata (24), Mumbai (40), Bangalore (7), Hyderabad (4), Madras/Chennai (7) and Bagdogra (2) by Thai Airways International, Indian Airlines, Air India, Cathay Pacific Airways, Royal Bhutan Airlines, Jet Airways, Kingfisher Airlines, and Air India Express.
Last June and July, over 400 Indian couples got married in Thailand which took place in Phuket and Bangkok. Many Indian couples choose Thailand because they wish to tie the knot in a land renowned for its sense of grace and style, following customs and ceremonies with rich roots in Buddhist culture. The secluded, all-inclusive resorts are perfect for honeymoons.