New Delhi [India], January 31 (ANI): Thailand expressed its desire to reconnect the people of New Delhi and Bangkok as a priority, Thailand's Ambassador to India Pattarat Hongtong said on Tuesday.
"India and Thailand have close relations. We see a lot of opportunities and we should enhance our bilateral relations in all areas. We want to reconnect people of two countries as a priority," Hongtong said in an interview with ANI.
Terming tourism as the "backbone" of country's economy, Thailand's key priority is to focus on boosting it and bringing international visitors to the country. After COVID, when Thailand opened the border gate for India and other countries, Bangkok witnessed huge numbers of Indians returning to Thailand.
"India used to be one of the major tourist sources to Thailand before Covid with around two million people per year. Now when we are open to India and other countries we saw a huge number of Indians returning to Thailand almost with one million people which has become the number two source of tourists after Malaysia" Hongtong added.
"The basis of the relation between two countries is people. So we want to reconnect with people as we used to do previously. And for Thailand tourism is the backbone of the economy and our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which was 17 to 18 per cent before Covid. So we want to focus at the beginning stage of the opening to recover from the effects of Covid by boosting the tourism sector, " she said while emphasizing the significance of tourism for the country's economy and the revival of the sector after COVID.
"India used to be one of the major tourist sources to Thailand before Covid with around two million people per year. Now when we are open to India and other countries we saw a huge number of Indians returning to Thailand almost with one million people which has become the number two source of tourists after Malaysia" Hongtong said.
"We still want to work with India to increase the number of tourists from India to Thailand so this year minimum we expect 1.4 million so that everything returns back to normal", she added.
"Now we have 230 flights per week from India to Thailand. We promote Thai tourists to know cities in India like Ahmedabad & Hyderabad and we have already started flight services. If we can bring people to know each other more then our relations will be closer," she further stated.
While asserting that Indian tourists can get VISA from the Embassy as well as a visa on arrival at the airport, she said that Thailand provides full support and facility at the airport to help Indian tourists coming to the country.
"And we are also sharing information and also working with the company incharge with the visa documentation and everything is in process," Hongtong said. (ANI)