When we think of tourists in Thailand, the first demographics that come to mind are usually the Chinese on their tour buses, snap-happy Japanese, drunken Brits and solo Western women hoping to ‘find themselves’.
While these stereotypes undoubtedly make up a snapshot of Thailand’s tourism arrivals, we’re underestimating one key demographic: India.
1,068,149 Indians visited the kingdom during 2015, according to statistics from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, demonstrating an 18 percent increase year-on-year. These numbers push the sub-continent into position as Thailand’s sixth largest source market behind local neighbours China, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea and Laos.
Indian visitors generated ฿37.46 billion (US$1.05 billion) for Thailand’s economy in 2014 and even more is expected to have been generated during 2015.
Thailand and Bangkok, in particular, have thriving Indian communities that make up an important part of the multi-cultural fabric of the country. Take a look at Shayan Naveed’s guide to being Desi in Bangkok if you’re keen on experiencing some of Bangkok’s rich Indian culture.
Thailand opened its arms to a grand total of 29.88 million international overnight visitors in 2015; a 20.4 percent increase on 2014.
2016 is off to a good start too, with around 2 million foreigners arriving at Thailand’s major aviation hubs between the 1st and 26th of January, according to Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, minister for Tourism and Sports.
The imminent Chinese New Year celebrations are also expected to welcome an influx of around 1.01 million tourists between February 6th to the 14th: a 19 percent increase on Chinese New Year in 2014.
The Nation reports that tourism revenue of ฿29 billion (US$810 million) is expected during the nine-day celebration.
China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia are expected to contribute the largest number of tourists.
Featured image is via TAT News