PM Srettha pledges to woo back Russian tourists with revived flights

Photo courtesy of KhaSod English

Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin is gearing up to welcome a surge of Russian tourists to Thailand, unveiling plans to tackle the flight shortage bottleneck yesterday.

Acknowledging reports of a burgeoning number of Russian tourists eyeing Thailand for their holidays, PM Srettha highlighted the critical lack of flights to accommodate the demand.

“Inadequate flights are hindering the influx of Russian tourists.”

The 62 year old PM divulged intentions to engage in discussions with Thai Airways to reignite the direct route between Moscow and Bangkok. With Thai Airways already re-establishing flights between Istanbul and Bangkok, the prime minister remains optimistic about reviving the Moscow-Bangkok route.

PM Srettha underscored the burgeoning interest from Russian tourists, particularly since the extension of visa exemptions from 30 to 90 days last year. Noting a substantial willingness among Russian holidaymakers to visit Thailand this year, surpassing the one million mark, the Thai PM hailed the prospect as a positive development.

The Thai government’s unilateral move in October last year to grant temporary visa exemptions to Russian passport holders further underscores efforts to bolster tourism ties. The scheme, valid from November 1 to April 30 this year, aims to facilitate smoother travel for Russians while enhancing bilateral relations, reported KhaoSod English.

Thai Airways’ history with the Bangkok-Moscow route dates back to its inception on November 1, 2005, with three weekly flights. However, the onset of the pandemic prompted flight restrictions, including the suspension of services to Europe, including Moscow, from March 24, 2020.

In related news, in response to robust demand, Thai AirAsia is set to increase flights to coveted travel destinations like Japan and China, which offer visa-free access to visitors. The airline also plans to introduce a fresh route to Okinawa.

The initiative comes from Thai AirAsia’s chief executive, Santisuk Klongchaiya, who also helms SET-listed Asia Aviation (AAV). According to him, the surge in Thai travellers to these nations will result from their budget planning for foreign trips.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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