Thai Tourism Announces Visa-Free Travel for Indians, Nov 10 to May 2024
From November 10, 2023, to May 10, 2024, Indians can enjoy a visa-free visit to Thailand, as announced by Thai Tourism. This initiative, which allows a 30-day stay, is part of Thailand's strategy to attract more Indian tourists.
Thailand Expanding Horizons for Indian Travelers
In a promising development, there has been a significant rise in visa-free initiatives, particularly Sri Lanka's recent decision to grant entry without visas to visitors from several countries, including India. These initiatives are creating new opportunities for Indian travellers, facilitating exploration beyond their borders and reflecting the evolving landscape of international tourism.
Visa-Free Initiatives on the Rise
In a week filled with positive developments for Indian travellers, Sri Lanka recently made headlines by announcing visa-free entry for visitors from seven countries, including India, China, and Russia. This groundbreaking move is part of a pilot project that will be in effect until March 31, 2024. Travel enthusiasts from India can now explore the scenic wonders of Sri Lanka without the hassle of a visa.
India's Appeal as a Travel Hub
Post-COVID, the tourism boards of various nations are actively courting Indian globetrotters. India has emerged as a sought-after source market for tourism, with Thailand ranking it as the fourth largest contributor to its tourist influx. In the current year, India has already sent approximately 12 lakh visitors to Thailand, trailing only behind Malaysia, China, and South Korea.
Indian government data reveals an upward trajectory in the number of Indians travelling abroad. The figures have witnessed a steady increase, climbing from 1.4 crore travellers in 2011 to a peak of 2.7 crore in 2019. After grappling with two years of pandemic-related travel restrictions and closed borders, the numbers have rebounded to 2.1 crore in 2022.
Top Destination Countries for Indian Travelers
Based on data from the Union Tourism Ministry, the top 10 destination countries for Indian travellers last year were as follows (figures rounded off):
- UAE: Almost 59 lakh travellers, constituting 28% of the total.
- Saudi Arabia: 24 lakh travellers, accounting for 11.5%.
- USA: 17 lakh travellers, making up 8%.
- Singapore: 9.9 lakh travellers, contributing 4.7%.
- Thailand: 9.3 lakh travellers, representing 4.4% of the total.
- UK: 9.2 lakh travellers, comprising 4.3%.
- Qatar: 8.7 lakh travellers, accounting for 4.1%.
- Kuwait: 8.3 lakh travellers, contributing 3.9%.
- Canada: 7.7 lakh travellers, up 3.6% of the total.
- Oman: 7.2 lakh travellers, representing 3.4% of the total.
These statistics reflect the diverse choices of Indian travellers, demonstrating their preference for a mix of domestic and international destinations.
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Q1: Is there a cost for the visa on arrival in Thailand for Indian citizens?
Although the previous visa-on-arrival option has been discontinued, there is expected to be a surge in demand for flights to Bangkok and various other Thai destinations starting from November 10, 2023. This spike in demand is a result of Thailand's decision to grant Indian travellers visa-free access until May 2024.
Q2: Why are so many countries actively seeking Indian tourists post-COVID?
Post-COVID, Indian tourists have become a sought-after market for many countries. This is due to the increasing trend of Indian travellers exploring international destinations, making India one of the significant contributors to global tourism. As a result, tourism boards are actively promoting their countries to Indian tourists to boost their tourism industries.
Q3: Can Indians extend tourist visas in Thailand?
There is a 60-day entry Tourist Visa that can be extended for an additional 30 days at the local immigration office. There are certain requirements needed for the STV, but it allows a visitor to stay in Thailand for up to 9 months.
Q4: Is visa-on-arrival free in Bangkok?
Once you arrive there, all you have to do is pay for the visa itself (2000 THB) and receive your stamp. You can spend a maximum of 15 days within Thai borders, and you have a Single Entry.
Q5: Is it a requirement to have 10,000 Baht when travelling to Thailand?
Individuals holding a Thailand tourist visa must demonstrate that they possess sufficient funds, amounting to at least THB 20,000 per person or THB 40,000 per family.