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