Air links a boon for India-Thailand outbound

ADDITIONAL air links between India and Thailand have Indian outbound tour operators hopeful of a spike in business to the kingdom this year.

Bangkok Airways’ new six-weekly Bangkok-Mumbai service from March 2, increasing to daily flights from March 28, will add to existing direct weekly services between Thailand and India, which grew from 125 flights in September to 138 flights in December last year.

Attributing his increase in business to Thailand to the new air links, New Delhi-based Rave Tour and Travels director Rajat Sawhney said the company expected a 10 per cent growth this year, on the back of a 10 per cent increase in 2010.

Another New Delhi operator, Starlite Destination Management director Anshuman Mitra, said the company’s 25 per cent growth in 2010, and a further 30 per cent increase expected this year, have prompted the opening of a Bangkok office in March.

However, Andhra Pradesh-based Wellfare Holiday Group director Vijay Mohan was more concerned whether Thailand would extend the tourist visa fee exemption scheme, which will end March 31.

Mohan believed numbers to Thailand would drop if the tourist visa fee for Indian nationals, which costs 1,100 rupees (US$24), is reinstated.

By Sirima Eamtako

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