First flight from Russia’s Red Wings Airlines makes its way to Phuket

Photo by Phuket International Airport.

Russian tourists are continuing to flock to Thailand’s holiday paradise of Phuket. Yesterday morning, officials and staff at Phuket International Airport welcomed the first Red Wings Airlines flight from Zhukovsky, Russia, to Phuket. The flight carried 400 passengers.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Russians were Thailand’s fourth largest tourist group this year, with a total of 115,743 tourists so far.

In March, it was reported that over 7,000 Russians in Phuket were applying for visa extensions in a bid to stay in Thailand. Local immigration chief, Thanet Sukchai, said the great weather was one factor in their attempts to stay.

Thanet said there were 7,596 Russian nationals seeking to extend their stays, mostly in Muang, Thalang, and Kathu districts.

The countries with the most tourists in Thailand, as reported earlier this month, were:

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  1. Malaysia (367,530)
  2. China (328,375)
  3. India (131,230)
  4. Russia (115,743)
  5. South Korea (95,229)
  6. Vietnam (84,221)
  7. United States (70,977)
  8. United Kingdom (70,089)
  9. Laos (68,204)
  10. Hong Kong (67,771)
The number of foreign tourist arrivals in Thailand has reached 9.47 million this year, contributing approximately 391 billion baht (US$11 billion) to the nation’s revenue, as reported this week by government spokesperson Traisuree Taisaranakul.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) estimates a total tourism revenue for Thailand of 1.5 trillion baht for 2023. Last month, TAT’s Deputy Governor for Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Americas reported that long-haul flight applications for summer slots had reached 70% of the 2019 level, following a 60% recovery in flights for the current cool season.

The TAT has been working toward attracting tourists from a few other countries and regions.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is pushing for 150,000 Saudi tourists this year. There has been a significant increase in the number of Saudi visitors to the Land of Smiles over the years. In 2015, Thailand welcomed 25,153 Saudi tourists, while in 2016 and 2017, the numbers increased to 33,038 and 42,610 respectively.

TAT is also expecting to welcome six million tourists from Europe this year, generating over 420 billion baht in revenue. The figure represents approximately 80% of pre-pandemic levels.

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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.

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