The untimely death of Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej on Thursday could prove a temporary setback to the country that has been wooing Indian tourists, especially those wanting to get married at foreign destinations. India is a significant source of tourist arrivals and earnings for the country, as is evident from the fact that 1.05 million Indians visited Thailand in 2015, spending about Rs 9,200 crore, making it the sixth-largest source of foreign visitors.
To promote its tourist hotspots such as Bangkok, Phuket and Pattaya, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) had organised 'familiarisation trip' for 20 wedding planners from Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Pune, Chandigarh and Bengaluru last month "to experience first-hand the attractions and wedding facilities."
"We've carefully put together an itinerary on these two routes to update the Indian wedding planners on how these five destinations including Kanchanaburi, Hua Hin, Phuket, and Khao Lak, as well as Bangkok can accommodate all sizes of wedding events from India, ranging from large-scale ceremonies to small, exclusive-sized nuptials," Dr Walailak Noypayak, TAT Executive Director for ASEAN, South Asia and South Pacific said in a statement posted on TAT website.
The country's landscape as wedding destination comprises two categories: beach destinations, including Pattaya, Phuket, Hua Hin, Ko Samui, Krabi and Khao Lak, and city destinations, such as, Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Kanchanaburi, according to the TAT.
Foreign tourist arrivals to Thailand hit a new high of 28 million last year, when Singh Sundeep Kumar, an Indian, arrived as the 28 millionth tourist on December 13, 2015.
"The arrival of the 28 millionth tourist is a testament to the international travellers' confidence in Thailand as a holiday destination, and also signifies 2015 as the greatest year ever for the country's tourism industry," Juthaporn Rerngronasa, Deputy Governor for International Marketing – Europe, Africa, Middle East and Americas, TAT said.
To put things in perspective, India received eight million foreign tourists last year.