Thailand eyes record 2 million Russian tourists despite geopolitical tensions

Photo courtesy of Achadthaya Chuenniran, Bangkok Post

With an increase in flights and a neutral position on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Thailand’s Tourism Authority (TAT) is poised to welcome a record-breaking 2 million Russian tourists next year. Khanittha Phanworawat, the Moscow office director, emphasises the urgent need to preserve Thailand’s image as a friend to Russian travellers, as a measure to achieve this ambitious goal, especially if other countries persist in imposing sanctions on Russia.

Previously, Russian tourists commonly travelled to European destinations for the summer. But, counterintuitively, the war with Ukraine has seen them extend their excursions throughout the year, turning Thailand into a premier year-round destination. Khanittha acknowledges Thailand’s shifting status as the primary choice for most Russians, particularly those who spend generously and stay longer.

Since this year began, Thailand has received upwards of 840,000 visitors from Russia, placing the nation within the top five tourist-generating countries. The Moscow office director projected an increase in this number, hinting at a potential match or surpass of the 1.48 million Russian tourists welcomed in 2019.

Siripakorn Cheawsamoot, TAT deputy governor for Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas, conveyed his optimism about the return of flights between Thailand and Europe, including Russia. According to him, around 70% of the flight capacity noted in 2019 has been restored this year. This figure is expected to rise further during the forthcoming hot season.

Related news

However, statistics from Russia’s Federal Border Guard Service and Thailand’s Immigration Bureau place Thailand as one of the top five destinations for Russian tourists, after recording an influx of 435,000 visitors last year. The countries that saw a higher volume of Russian tourists include Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt, welcoming approximately 3.7 million, 900,000, and 760,000 tourists, respectively reported Bangkok Post.

Challenges persist in the tourism sector. Russian airlines, for example, are grappling with an insufficient fleet size, preventing them from offering direct flights. The economic sanctions imposed on Russia have further strained the industry, hampering aircraft insurance coverage and, by extension, hindering the airlines’ expansion efforts.

Despite the challenges, Khanittha remains hopeful to attract a greater segment of Russian tourists. She expresses that TAT will continue to stimulate tourism demand through new segments, citing the likes of leisure travellers, adventure enthusiasts, health and wellness tourists, and honeymooners. Direct flights’ resultant larger market size would incentivise airlines to augment their routes between Thailand and Russia.

In anticipation of more direct flights, TAT is shifting its focus to boosting Thai tourism through connecting flights, primarily using the Middle East as an aviation hub.

Business NewsEconomy NewsThailand News

Alex Morgan

Alex is a 42-year-old former corporate executive and business consultant with a degree in business administration. Boasting over 15 years of experience working in various industries, including technology, finance, and marketing, Alex has acquired in-depth knowledge about business strategies, management principles, and market trends. In recent years, Alex has transitioned into writing business articles and providing expert commentary on business-related issues. Fluent in English and proficient in data analysis, Alex strives to deliver well-researched and insightful content to readers, combining practical experience with a keen analytical eye to offer valuable perspectives on the ever-evolving business landscape.

Related Articles