BANGKOK: Thailand is expecting to welcome more than 10 million tourists from ASEAN countries this year, following the launching of ASEAN + India Shoppers in Thailand project here today.

The governor of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Thapanee Kiatphaibool, said with the project launch, the number of visitor arrivals from ASEAN and India is expected to increase.

“We expect visitor arrivals from ASEAN to bypass 10 million this year while the number of Indian tourists is forecasted to reach 1.7 million. This constitutes 35 per cent of this year’s overall target of 35 million visitor arrivals,” she said during her opening speech before launching the project.

Thapanee said the project, which aims to boost the Thai economy with soft power will start from April 29 until June 15, and it underscores the government's policy to establish Thailand as a tourism hub, while promoting ASEAN as a single tourism destination.

She said TAT and partners jointly initiated the activity particularly for ASEAN and Indian tourists, given the geographical proximity of these countries and their interest in shopping and local experiences.

“Convenient access and stimulus visa policy are among key factors contributing to 75 per cent of ASEAN tourists being repeat visitors and India being the fastest growing source market,” she said.

Thapanee said passport holders of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam and India can simply log on to the website to vote for Thailand's rich cultural resources.

She said participants will be given gift vouchers and special privileges, worth 500 baht (RM65.22) to 3,000 baht (RM391.34) each, that can be used to purchase Thai fashion and lifestyle brands, as well as authentic Thai products at participating stores.