The rapid and impressive growth of the Indian wedding market in Thailand continues to be a major success story. For most Indian people weddings are the high point of their lives, not only for the couple involved but their respective families as well. It is the uniting of beliefs, aspirations, culture, and time honoured traditions. Generations are fused and new contacts are forged. As a result, no expense is spared when organising the various nuptial ceremonies and receptions. In fact, some are so lavish they would shame a Hollywood blockbuster movie production.
It is only fitting then that for such a momentous rite of passage the choice of where to hold the wedding itself is absolutely crucial, and given much consideration. The unprecedented expansion of the Indian wedding market in Thailand over the past number of years is viewed and as one of the country’s most spectacular achievements in tourism. And it’s easy to see the attraction that Thailand has as a dream wedding destination. The traditional friendliness of the Thai people, the kingdom’s renowned cuisine, a dedication to customer service, and the wide array of cultural, retail, and holiday experiences available — not to mention the considerable cost savings — all make Thailand a very desirable locale.
This burgeoning demand to stage weddings in Thailand has increased not only in Bangkok, but also in Phuket, Pattaya, Hua Hin, and other prime locations around the country. In order to maximise the growth and effectiveness of this vital commercial market, the need to form an organisation to oversee and give a platform to the various suppliers and parties involved, in all aspects of this industry, was keenly felt. Thus, in 2015 the Thai Indian Wedding Association (TIWA) was launched, spearheaded by Ram Sachdev, Chairman of Masala Magazine, the leading and most respected Indian publication in Thailand.
The primary aim of TIWA is to promote, protect, and preserve this particular business sector in both domestic and international markets. By establishing an authoritative and accurate source of information, which all members can access and share, the association provides a forum for debate and discussion about the particular challenges and opportunities of the Indian wedding market in Thailand. In addition, TIWA will be of immense help to the families around the world who want to find out more about getting married in Thailand and experiencing the country’s many wonders.
“Our first task,” explains Mr. Sachdev, “was to create awareness of TIWA by informing hotels, airlines, venues, wedding planners, caterers, and other suppliers, of the aims and intentions of the association, and how we could provide invaluable support and assistance to those operating in the wedding industry by being its voice.”
TIWA further assists those in the Indian wedding industry by producing explicit guidelines concerning codes and conduct, and also by provides training — in the form of educational workshops — as well as expert consultancy. Mr. Sachdev stresses the need for those working in this sector to comprehensively grasp the magnitude and particular nature of Indian nuptials.
“It is vital for those in the hospitality sector to fully appreciate the enormous symbolism inherent in these celebrations, which can last for several days,” he points out. “This information will surely benefit those General Managers of other properties who are now seeking to enter this potentially lucrative market for the first time.”
TIWA also enjoys the full and ongoing support of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). The huge potential for further development of this sector is recognised by both parties, and TIWA’s board of directors look forward to undertaking joint promotional activities with TAT.
“These ‘destination weddings’ not only bring thousands of affluent guests to Thailand, who end up spending billions of baht on their celebrations, but they also provide the incentive for these same guests to make repeat visits to Thailand as independent travellers,” Mr. Sachdev goes on to say. “Furthermore, there is the very real chance of signposting decision makers and influential visitors towards hosting corporate events here.”
Interestingly, only 50 per cent of Indian weddings held in Thailand actually originate from India. The remainder come from Indian couples in Europe, the Far East, Asia Pacific, the Middle East (including Dubai), and increasingly from the African continent. The range of countries is diverse, and it can clearly be seen that there is a rising and ongoing demand and interest on a global scale. In addition, these contented customers become vital future ambassadors in spreading the messages to their friends and families of their wonderful experiences in Thailand, encouraging them to visit as well.
When Mr. Sachdev first approached the TAT, around seven years ago, he explained to them the vast appeal Thailand has as an Indian wedding destination. At that time there were less than a handful of such events taking place, but Mr. Sachdev recognised the potential, and has derived immense satisfaction from the subsequent surge of interest, and the enormous increase in the popularity, prestige, and value of this sector to the country. Furthermore, it has become increasingly evident that the wedding is just one part of several prior and post celebrations, so the point is made that engagements and anniversaries should not be neglected either in terms of their commercial prospects.
Since its inception there has been a tremendous response to the formation of TIWA. Many operating within the industry have expressed delight and excitement at its foundation and have already been requesting advice and assistance.
“TIWA is definitely driving the Thai Indian Wedding Industry forward as the flagship private sector organisation representing the interest of stakeholders,” comments David Barrett, Executive Director Events, Amari Pattaya and Amari Watergate Bangkok. “With 300 Indian weddings slated to be held in Thailand this year, the industry has come of age and it is perfect timing for TIWA to help lead sustainable growth. I applaud the launch of the association, as masterminded by Ram Sachdev. By members taking a vow of excellence, happy couples and suppliers will benefit from setting industry guidelines and promoting best practices. Working in partnership with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), I am confident TIWA will help secure a larger chunk of the lucrative destination weddings market from India to the kingdom.”
“I am so delighted that there is finally a Thai Indian Wedding Association,” adds Martin Raich, General Manager, The Westin Grande Sukhumvit, Bangkok, the Sheraton Hua Hin and Sheraton Hua Hin Pranburi Villas. “TIWA is a one-of-a-kind association that will help all of Thai tourism. Indian wedding couples will receive the best possible experience with respect to service, food, decoration, and organization. The Indian wedding industry in Thailand is very strong, and has, over the years, hosted some of the best Indian weddings in the world.”
Welcome to TIWA
The Thai Indian Wedding Association (TIWA) was founded in 2015 with three main aims to Promote, Protect and Preserve the industry. Under its auspices TIWA, however, does much more than sustain and encourage growth in this vital business sector for Thailand. It also functions at the same time to provide a common and collective voice for the betterment of the industry. It is here to tackle and resolve issues where they may arise.
As an association TIWA is an independent body which can talk to, communicate and discuss with various government sectors and private sectors both within Thailand and internationally.
In addition it seeks to provide a definitive platform of standardization for the continued enhancement of the industry. TIWA also strives to be a source of accurate and updated statistics for those who operate in the industry.
Expert and ongoing assistance in training and general awareness of changing and developing activities will be given.
It is emphasized that appropriate and correct information will be disseminated to the world about the state of the Thai Wedding industry.
All this is performed with the core objective of promoting destination Thailand as the perfect venue for holding Indian weddings here.