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  • Indian vacationers are en masse in Southeast Asia as China’s economy struggles.

The world’s most populous nation’s position as a crucial growth market for a travel and tourism industry that is feeling the pain of China’s slower-than-expected re-opening is being cemented by the influx of Indian tourists into Southeast Asia.
Companies are taking advantage of India’s expanding middle class and rising purchasing power, CEOs and experts said, from airlines like IndiGo and Thai Airways to hospitality chains offering thousands of rooms.

“Southeast Asia is obviously very well positioned for a lot of the growth that is inevitably going to come from India,” aviation analyst Brendan Sobie said at an industry conference last month.

Prior to the COVID-19 epidemic, the travel and tourism sector made up roughly 12% of the gross domestic product in numerous Southeast Asian economies. According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, it also provides jobs for more than 40 million residents of the area.

China supported the industry for around ten years, but official data from four Southeast Asian nations indicates a sluggish recovery, with the number of Chinese visitors in May being at least 60% fewer than in the corresponding month of 2019.

According to representatives of the business, a long-term increase of Indian tourists would necessitate a reevaluation of aircraft capacity, hospitality options, and tourism operators.

India might surpass China “in terms of outbound tourism growth” over the following ten years, however connectivity would be limited due to the lack of airports, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) stated in a research released in May.

“India could become the story in the decade after the pandemic for tourism,” it stated.


Though less than Chinese visitors in absolute terms, the number of Indian visitors to Thailand, where tourism is a major source of revenue, is only roughly 14% lower than it was in 2019.

According to Thai official data, travellers from China and India spent an average of $197 and $180, respectively, each day in Thailand in 2019. Both groups of tourists were there for roughly a week.

1.6 million Indian tourists are anticipated in Thailand this year, according to Tanes Petsuwan, deputy governor of the country’s tourism board.

In May, more Indians than Chinese visited Singapore, while in the same month, over 63,000 more Indians than Chinese travelled to Indonesia.

“Indian routes are very strong,” said Chai Eamsiri, chief executive officer of Thai Airways, which operates 14 flights per week to China and 70 flights per week to India. Prior to the pandemic, there were around 40 flights per week to China.

According to Chai, some of the potential expansion of Thai’s fleet of narrow-body aircraft during the following ten years would be sent to India.

IndiGo, an Indian low-cost airline, reported a “strong uptick” in demand for its more than 100 flights each week between India and Southeast Asia. IndiGo has acquired 500 Airbus narrowbody aircraft to accommodate regional demand.

According to Vinay Malhotra, head of global sales for IndiGo, “we are launching flights to Jakarta in August, as well as additional frequencies to Singapore.”

However, Sobie noted that flights from India to the region had returned to roughly 90%, while overall seat capacity on scheduled flights between China and Southeast Asia remained 57% below pre-COVID levels as of June.

Indians are assisting hotel chains, such as Minor Hotels, which has 45 facilities throughout Southeast Asia with more than 6,000 rooms, in maintaining a post-pandemic recovery.

The CEO of the hotel chain, Minor International, which is listed in Bangkok, stated that “the Indian market is consistently one of our top source markets,” and that the company had increased marketing efforts there.

Time and resources.

Pratyush Tripathy travelled to Bangkok with four pals in June after taking a 2.5-hour trip from Kolkata, India. They spent the majority of their time in and around the Pattaya beach resort.

According to Tripathy, the journey cost between 40,000 and 60,000 Indian rupees ($484 to $726) each person, or approximately the same as a flight to Europe.

The 33-year-old software professional explained their decision to travel to Southeast Asia, where Indians can typically obtain visas far more readily than they can for European nations and the United States. “It will save you time and money,” he said.

According to Indian online travel agency Cleartrip, the number of flights booked from India to Bangkok increased by 270% between January and June of this year compared to the same time in 2019.

The central bank of Thailand anticipates 29 million tourists this year and 35.5 million in 2024. The Bank of Thailand predicts that the sector would help boost total economic growth to 3.6% in 2023 and 3.8% next year, compared to 2.6% in 2022, even if that is still less than the record of over 40 million in 2019.
Source- Theprint
Link- https://theprint.in/india/indian-tourists-flock-to-southeast-asia-as-chinas-reopening-falters/1672497/


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