Indians are increasingly contributing to the growth of Thailand's tourism economy as the Chinese tourist numbers have been dwindling, according to reports.
Kongsak Khoopongsakorn, the General Manager of Vijitt Resort in Phuket, told Bloomberg that while Chinese clients have decreased, bookings from India have multiplied. Thailand places huge importance on its tourism sector which is reported to account for 20 percent of its national gross domestic product.
Chinese tourists have contributed to the Thai tourism economy at the rate of 10 percent a year. But a boat accident that killed 47 Chinese nationals in 2018 and slowing economy in the mainland has led to the dip in Chinese visits to the country.
"We're starting to see new growth," said Kongsak who is also the vice president of the Thai Hotels Association. "Indians are now driving industry growth as the Chinese had previously done," he added.
Visa waiver, direct domestic flights and increasing wealth of Indians visiting the country for leisure are the reasons for the rising number of Indian arrivals in Thailand, according to Bloomberg.
More than 10 million Indian tourists are expected to arrive in Thailand in 2028, which is around five-fold of the number in 2018. The growth is said to be similar to the rise of Chinese tourists from 800,000 in 2008 to more than 10 million last year.
Thailand's Ministry of Tourism and Sports said that a record 180,000 Indian tourists visited the country in June. A report by the ministry revealed that Indians spend 11 per cent more per trip than an average foreign tourist.
While Kongsak expressed his confidence in the growing industry, he warned that over-dependence on a single market poses risk to the country. "It's important to spread the risk and have a good nationality mix in the market. We can't rely on any single market," reported Bloomberg.