In the wake of martial law imposed in Thailand, Indian tourists are opting for other locations. While some are opting for Singapore and Malaysia, others are going to a domestic destination.
Sharat Dhall, president, Yatra.com, said, “Compared to how things were in January, we are expecting it to get peaceful. Thailand has a lot of brand value but bookings have gone down this year significantly.”
Observers estimate a drop of 25-30 per cent in Thailand bookings versus a year ago.
India has issued an advisory against travelling to Thailand, asking tourists to “observe basic precautions and safety measures”. The Indian embassy advised travellers to avoid areas where protesters were camping. The areas are the Parliament building, Royal Thai Police headquarters and other government offices in Bangkok.
Subhash Goyal, president, Indian Association of Tour Operators, said, “We do not normally issue advisories against travel. Travel to Thailand will suffer because of tensions going on in the country for long.”
Travel companies are not promoting Thailand, seeing a weak demand except for Phuket and Pattaya. For those ready to spend more, options including the Maldives, Mauritius and Dubai. Companies are seeing increased interest in Kashmir, Andamans and Goa.
“We havenot witnessed any significant dip in enquiries – and the a few customers whohave expressed some concerns have opted either to defer their travel plans ortravel instead to other south-east Asian destinations like Malaysia, Vietnamand Cambodia (Laos),” said Shibani Phadkar, Senior Vice President – Products& Operations, Leisure Travel (Outbound), Thomas Cook India.
Thailand has been a popular choice among tourists due to good connectivity with plenty of direct flights and easy visa norms. Over a million tourists from Indiathrong the south east destination. Thailand receives over 22 million foreign tourists annually.
The Thai tourism authority meanwhile issued a statement saying, “There is currently nocurfew in place in Bangkok or any other tourist destinations in Thailand. Localresidents and international visitors can continue to travel within Bangkok andother destinations in the country as usual.”
The tourism authority however advised air passengers to allocate at least 3-4 hours prior to their scheduled flight departure time to avoid heavy traffic on certain roads.