Wedding Planners to weave new dreams after sampling new destinations in Thailand
Thailand remains the top destination wedding destination for Indians with nearly 200 Indian couples choosing to tie the knot in the Land of Smiles during 2014.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s offices in Mumbai and Delhi have collaborated to cement Thailand’s position in this segment and also to drive demand among the segment’s stakeholders. The first link in the chain, of course, are wedding planners given that they are in a strong position to recommend destinations to to-be-weds considering a destination wedding.
TAT’s offices have noticed that just like vacationers are looking for new destinations within Thailand, to-be-weds are also looking to tread new shores. Most young people don’t want a wedding that is similar to a peer’s, a friend’s, neigbour’s or even family member’s wedding. And yet, in the HNI segment that opts for destination weddings, many people tend to choose Thailand because of its countless conveniences for the wedding segment. As a result to-be-weds are often on the lookout for new Thai destinations that could offer a scenic backdrop for their celebration, along with hotels that can cater to the big fat Indian wedding as well as service providers who understand the intricacies and norms related to Indian weddings.
Soraya Homchuen, director, TAT Mumbai said, “Hua Hin, Koh Chang and Koh Samet and Koh Kood in Rayong are becoming popular among the young to-be-weds in India today. Many of these have friends who have married in Bangkok, Phuket or Khao Yai and therefore these destinations represent unseen territory. Moreover, beach wedding themes are very popular and trendy right now. As a result, we showcased a collection of beach resort destinations in a Wedding Planners Familiarization Trip for 30 key players from across the country’s top destination wedding markets.”
The 30 planners pursued a distinct route – one group will explored Hua Hin, another explored Rayong and the third Koh Chang. Following this they converged in Pattaya for a Wedding Industry Symposium, where they geared the Thai private sector to cater to the Indian market by sharing key expectations of to-be-weds, best practices, norms and the latest trends in Indian weddings. Similarly, In Bangkok, a networking session encouraged interaction with Thai service providers. Participants were presented with a Thailand Specialist Wedding Planner Certificate at the close of the trip.
Indians first designated Thailand a dream wedding venue almost a decade ago. Since then the segment has been streamlined: today service providers are well-versed with baraat, fire-ceremonies, the need for Indian cuisine and the fact that pre-wedding events continue until dawn.
This is of course in addition to all the almost endless list of factors that make Thailand the ideal destination wedding venue: proximity, visa-on-arrival, availability of Indian cuisine (and sometimes even Bollywood music, often complete with a Bollywood DJ!), a favourable exchange rate and value-for-money even at 5-star ++ price points, hotels with large rooms and banquet inventory and good connectivity from all over India. Don’t forget the little things such as favourable weather almost throughout the year, a variety of landscapes within drivable distances (in case the to-be-weds want a beach wedding, a rainforest mehendi and a discotheque sangeet) and a the destination’s legacy of hospitality and service that are key to planning an event with great emotional quotient, such as a wedding. Today, Thai decorators and florists have even learned the art of creating an ambience characteristic to Indian weddings where required.
“Thailand is already a well-established dream wedding destination in India. The goal of this initiative has been to showcase untapped regions and gear the Thai private sector to work more seamlessly with wedding planners and to-be-weds from India. Our participants had a wholesome experience and are now geared with all the right contacts. We look forward to seeing more Indian weddings in Hua Hin, Koh Chang, Rayong besides eternal favourites like Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket and Chiang Mai,” Homchuen concluded.