Connect with us


Show the Russians some Phuket love



PHUKET: Is Phuket on the brink of losing its Russian comrades?

According to a recent report published by the Kasikorn Research Center, Russian arrivals to Thailand are expected to drop 5.5% by the end of this year.

When you consider that Russian visitors to Thailand (1.73 million) were almost double the number of visitors from the whole of Europe last year (1 million), then the decline could represent quite a large hole in Thailand’s overall arrival numbers.

Looking at these figures from Phuket’s point of view, one has to wonder whether we’ve reached a tipping point and are about to see a fall in the number of cash-flush Russian holidaymakers.

It’s not so long ago that you would have been hard-pressed to find a Russian tourist in Phuket.

They came here in small numbers at first – like the first settlers of the New World – looking for a new life in the sun, while keeping an eagle eye on the business opportunities.

Back then, they were a strange curiosity: Tall and beautiful (the women, anyway) – lacking any recognizable English language skills – but not afraid to haggle in their own unfamiliar-sounding verbiage. Now they number as many as the stars.

Whatever your views on the habits of Russian tourists, there’s no doubt they have become an important revenue staple of Phuket’s tourism industry.

Russian and Chinese arrivals at Phuket International Airport in 2014 have been the two largest groups with 228,691 and 225,949 visits, respectively. While Chinese arrivals declined slightly in the first quarter, by 1.6%, Russian arrivals grew by a staggering 20.4% year-on-year.

Combined, Russia and China constituted about 50% of total arrivals to Phuket, but perhaps what’s more interesting is that despite Kasikorn’s predicted overall decline in Russian arrivals to Thailand by year end, their numbers in Phuket continue to grow.

It would be difficult to pinpoint one particular factor influencing their growing numbers, and even tougher to speculate about any future role Russians might play in the tourism industry. However, for now, the figures suggest they are here to stay.

This is, of course, good news for the tourism industry, but with the EU tightening the screws on Russian sanctions, it could still go to pot. And that’s something the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Phuket office shouldn’t be taking lightly.

— Daniel Davies


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Crime5 mins ago

Teen soldier murders cousin for allegedly raping his mother

Video32 mins ago

Thaiger Unfiltered

World59 mins ago

Monkeypox victims told to avoid animals after pet dog is infected

Sponsored1 day ago

Super luxury villas in Phuket with breathtaking ocean views

Thailand2 hours ago

Elephant rips mahout’s body in half in southern Thailand

Thailand3 hours ago

2 men on a motorcycle rob a gas station in Chon Buri

Thailand3 hours ago

PM Prayut suggests studying Buddhism to cope with rising electricity bills in Thailand

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand3 hours ago

Indian man arrested for smuggling 17 live animals out of Thailand

Guides3 hours ago

English-speaking counselling/therapy services in Bangkok

Thailand4 hours ago

Thai man faces prison for growing & selling corals online

Crime4 hours ago

‘Real owner’ of Mountain B nightclub released on bail for 1 million baht cash

South5 hours ago

UPDATE: 21 year old man found dead after Deep South bombing

Cannabis5 hours ago

Thai govt open to cannabis recreation, not pot-smoking tourists

Thailand5 hours ago

Tourists travelling for pot-smoking not welcome in Thailand | GMT

Press Room5 hours ago

School’s In, Face-To-Face Learning Shifts to the Home

Destination Guide21 hours ago

Best areas to live in Phuket (2022)

Thailand11 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism1 year ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11