Russians still biggest tourist group in Phuket, peak expected during holidays

Kata Beach, photo by The Phuket Express.

Russians remain Phuket’s biggest tourist group, and the island resort’s tourism is expected to peak during the holidays, according to the president of the Southern Thai Hotels Association, Sueksit Suwannadissakun, who believes the peak of tourism High Season will be between December 24 to January 5.

About 57% of hotels in the island province reopened in October, jumping to 70% in November, according to Sueksit. He said the association expects that during Christmas and New Year, 80% of Phuket hotels will be opened. Sueksit told The Phuket Express…

“The top tourists are now Russians which is about 25% of total visitors, secondly followed by Indians at 12%, and finally Singaporeans and Australians at 6%. These four groups of tourists are almost half of the overall tourism market in Phuket.”

Sueksit added that most other tourists in Phuket are Europeans coming to Thailand for the warm winter here.

In November, Phuket saw 55,097 Russian tourists arriving on its shores. The second largest tourist group in Phuket that month came from India, with 26,525 travellers, according to Phuket Immigration.

The recent swarm of Russian tourists in Thailand has taken the country’s tourism forces completely by surprise. Despite the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the Russian tourism market has returned much quicker than expected, according to the president of the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) last month.

Chartered flights to Phuket and Pattaya are being filled by Russian tourists. Less than two weeks after Russian airlines made their triumphant return to Phuket, Aeroflot announced an increase in direct flights to the island. The flagship airline of Russia made known on November 12 that it would be adding 14 new flights a week from Russia to Phuket.

As of October 26, Thailand witnessed 7,349,843 international tourists arrive at its airports. According to the governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Thailand is on course to attract around 11 million tourists this year.

Phuket NewsTourism News

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.