Thailand, February 27, 2012 — Thailand has been voted by readers of Travel + Leisure India and South Asia magazine as the World’s Best Country 2011 for leisure holidays and The World’s Best Wedding Destination 2011.

The award was presented on 17 February 2012 at ITC Maurya New Delhi, India. Accepting the award, Tourism Authority of Thailand Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications, Mr Prakit Piriyakiet said, “We are very happy that many Indian travellers consider Thailand to be the best country for their holidays as well as for tying the knot.”

“Our thanks to all the readers who voted for us. This award belongs to the entire Thai travel and tourism industry for making Thailand such a wonderful destination for Indian visitors,” added Mr. Prakit.

Travel + Leisure claims to be the world’s leading travel magazine with a circulation of almost one million readers. It launched its India and South Asia edition in 2006.

Thanks to improved facilitation, accessibility, affordability, and India’s growing economy, visitor arrivals from India have been growing rapidly all through the past decade. India is today the biggest source-market for visitors from South Asia and one of Thailand’s fastest growing markets overall.

In 2011, India became the sixth largest source market for Thailand with total arrivals of 916,787, up an equally impressive 20.27% over 2010 and close to double the 536,356 arrivals in 2007.

Mr Suraphon Svetasreni, TAT Governor said, “We project Indian arrivals certainly will cross the one-million mark by 2012. Effectively, they will have doubled in just five years – a remarkable achievement indeed.”

According to the 2010 market profile figures, over 50% of total Indian visitors were first-time and free independent travellers, 35% were incentive travellers and 30% were holidaymakers.

With an average expenditure of 4,751 Baht per person per day and an average length of stay 6.16 days in 2010, Indian visitors generated tourism revenue of 21,842.64 million Baht for Thailand, up 43.63% over 2009.

As of March 2012, there are 169 direct weekly services between Bangkok and ten major Indian cities. Indian citizens can obtain visa-on-arrival facilities at all international airports in Thailand and stay for up to 15 days.

Many Indians are venturing on their first trip abroad, and find Thailand the best place to start their international travels because it fits in well with their budget and time availability.

In recent years, Thailand has become increasingly popular among Indian wedding couples and honeymooners. Many Indian couples are tying the knot in a land renowned for its sense of grace and style, following customs and ceremonies with rich roots in Buddhist culture. The secluded, all-inclusive resorts are perfect for honeymoons.

At the same time, there is also a strong flow of VFR (visiting friends and relatives) traffic, students, MICE travelers, and golfers.

The most popular tourist destinations for Indian visitors are Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Samui, Krabi, Hua Hin, and Kanchanaburi. Intra-regional tourism is showing a clear growth, particularly to the neighbouring countries of the Greater Mekong Sub-region.