How This Thai Resort Hopes to Attract Indian Travelers – India Report

Skift Take

Even as Thailand is a popular travel destination among Indians, most places beyond Bangkok and Phuket remain unexplored. Smaller resorts and businesses now seem to be trying to attract Indian tourists.

In theory, Pimalai Resort and Spa in Thailand’s Krabi province checks all the boxes for Indian tourists. But the majority of the travelers limit their visit to Bangkok and Phuket, owner Charintip Tiyaphorn told Skift. 

She wants to change that and was in India last week to better understand the market. Thailand is expecting to bring in 1.7 million Indian tourists this year and has also extended the visa waiver for Indian passport holders. In 2023, India was the fourth-largest source market for Thailand.

“India is among the top five source markets for Thailand in 2024, and in April alone, 200,000 Indians visited Thailand,” Tiyaphorn said. “Even if they visit Krabi, they don’t come to Pimalai, because it is not known.”

For India, Thailand is among the top travel destinations. Bangkok consistently ranks among the most favored destinations for international travel among Indians. A Skyscanner survey released in December last year stated that Bangkok was the second most popular international destination for Indians in 2023.

A study on the Holi and Easter getaways among Indians by placed Bangkok as the third most-searched international tourist spot. Agoda studies have also revealed that Thailand is the most preferred destination for slow travel as well as affordable travel among Indians.

According to Tiyaphorn, India is a potential market, but lack of communication as well as inconvenience due to lack of direct flights to Krabi are causing the island district of Ko Lanta to miss out on this group of travelers. 

The Pimalai resort covers nearly the entire beachline of the island, making it almost a private beach. It is also lesser known and is a sustainable family-owned standalone resort – in line with Indian travelers’ leaning towards sustainability and unique stays.

The owner said that after Covid, the resort did not reach out to Indian travelers as much. Additionally, after flights resumed, most of them connected to Phuket and Bangkok.

“Indians are coming on shorter trips, so they do not extend it to different destinations and pick either Phuket or Bangkok for their visits. But I think this trend will change. Indians frequently travel to Thailand and have been to Bangkok and Phuket multiple times and now want to go somewhere else. So we are looking at those repeat visitors,” she explained. 

Ko Lanta in Krabi province, Thailand.

Air India Express Services Likely to Stabilize by Tuesday

The services of Tata group-owned low cost airline Air India Express are expected to stabilize by Tuesday. On Thursday, Air India Express had canceled over 80 flights as its cabin crew was on mass sick leaves. All such crew members have resumed duty, media reports said.

It had also decided to cancel 40 flights daily until May 13 due to the operational issues posed by the cabin crew’s protests. The crew was reportedly protesting against mismanagement, human resource issues, and changes in compensation structure. 

However, the protest was withdrawn by the crew on Thursday after the airline agreed to look into the matter. 

IHCL To Expand Presence in Indian Subcontient in Partnership With CG Hospitality 

Indian Hotels Company (IHCL) is extending its partnership with Nepal-based CG Hospitality in order to expand its presence in the Indian subcontinent. As part of this collaboration, the companies will grow the IHCL portfolio in the subcontinent to 25 hotels by 2025. The portfolio in the partnership will also include 11 currently operating hotels. 

IHCL CEO Puneet Chhatwal said, “This collaboration under the platform – Ekyam, will explore opportunities to manage hotels across regions around the Himalayas as well as Indian ocean and strengthen the wildlife sector.”

SpiceJet Announces Daily Direct Flights Between Delhi, Phuket

Budget Indian carrier SpiceJet has announced that it will commence direct daily flights between Delhi and Phuket in Thailand at the end of the month. This marks the airline’s entry into Phuket. SpiceJet currently has operations in Bangkok from Kolkata and Delhi. 

SpiceJet’s announcement comes shortly after IndiGo and Air India announced their plans to enhance their frequency of flights between Delhi and Phuket. It also follows Thailand’s decision to extend visa-free travel to Indians till November 11 this year.

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