METV to boost tourism

Thai­land’s re­cent up­date on the six-month Mul­ti­ple En­try Tourist Visa (METV) has given In­di­ans an­other rea­son to visit the coun­try more fre­quently.

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In­dian trav­ellers who fre­quent Thai­land on a reg­u­lar ba­sis can now re­joice, for the muchawaited six-month mul­ti­ple en­try tourist visa (METV) has been im­ple­mented by Thai­land’s Min­istry of For­eign Affairs start­ing Novem­ber 13, 2015. Run­juan Ton­grut, Di­rec­tor, North and East In­dia, Tourism Au­thor­ity of Thai­land (TAT), says, “From Jan­uary to Septem­ber, we re­ceived over eight lakh In­dian vis­i­tors and are ex­pect­ing the num­bers to rise to 10 lakh by the end of the year. We are hop­ing that the METV will give fil­lip to th­ese fig­ures and more In­dian trav­ellers will visit Thai­land.” She states that In­dia cur­rently ranks sixth on Thai­land’s list of source mar­kets, but with In­dia’s high tourism po­ten­tial, it would reach to fifth po­si­tion by the end of next year.

The much-awaited METV comes as a huge boon to trade and fre­quent trav­ellers. Giv­ing more de­tails about the same, Ton­grut elab­o­rates, “The fee for the METV is 5,000 baht, which ap­prox­i­mately comes to `

10,000. It is valid for a pe­riod of six months and one can en­ter and leave the coun­try as of­ten as they want, pro­vided they leave the coun­try ev­ery 60 days. How­ever, she clar­i­fies, “METV can only be ap­plied for at a Royal Thai Con­sulate or through agents–it is not avail­able on­line.”

With the im­ple­men­ta­tion of sev­eral new ini­tia­tives, such as the re­cent ad­di­tion of Dream­liner Boe­ing 787 on the Bangkok-New Delhi route by Thai Air­ways, Ton­grut is hope­ful about next year’s out­come. “Thai­land has proven to be a pop­u­lar choice for In­di­ans, es­pe­cially for desti­na­tion wed­dings and fam­ily va­ca­tions,” she says. “We con­tinue to pro­mote th­ese aspects and also fo­cus on hon­ey­moon and sports tourism. Thai­land is a golfer’s par­adise and golf tourism has con­stantly been on the in­cline. More­over, nu­mer­ous groups have been vis­it­ing Thai­land to par­tic­i­pate in marathons and for the same pur­pose, spe­cial marathon pack­ages are on of­fer, in as­so­ci­a­tion with TUI,” she adds.

As the birth­place of win­ter tourism and hav­ing hosted Win­ter Olympics twice al­ready, St. Moritz in Switzer­land is reach­ing out to travel agents and tour oper­a­tors in In­dia this win­ter.

Ari­ane Ehrat, CEO of Tourism Or­gan­i­sa­tion En­gadin St. Moritz , was in Mum­bai re­cently to meet the trade and find out what In­dian trav­ellers are look­ing for and how St. Moritz could match those de­mands. “We need to know what their re­quire­ments are and what ac­tiv­i­ties they like to do in win­ter if they don’t like ski­ing or hik­ing. We have a host of other prod­ucts like culi­nary, well­ness, med­i­cal, na­ture, etc. We are tar­get­ing two seg­ments—HNIs for leisure and cor­po­rate for MICE,” says the World Ski Cham­pion. The desti­na­tion is also pro­mot­ing its Christ­mas mar­kets.

METV can only be ap­plied at a Royal Thai Con­sulate or through agents– it is not avail­able on­line

She, how­ever added that the NTO is not of­fer­ing any deals and in­cen­tives to the trade for MICE as of now. “But we have to do that in the

She says, “It is just a mat­ter of time for us be­fore we reach other cities in In­dia. We have seen a rise in In­dian ar­rivals. It is cur­rently at 5,000 overnight stays in St. Moritz. But this is not enough. Our goal is to bring in 10,000 overnights in five years. It is bet­ter to grow slowly and steadily.”

Run­juan Ton­grut

Di­rec­tor, North and East In­dia, Tourism Au­thor­ity of Thai­land (TAT)

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