Phuket tourism official reports low number of calls to Russian, Ukrainian helpline

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An official from the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Phuket office says most Russian and Ukrainian tourists on the southern island appear to be “coping”. Nanthasiri Ronasiri says there have not been that many calls to a hotline set up specifically to help tourists stranded by cancelled flights or facing financial problems as a result of sanctions on Russia.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to global condemnation and international sanctions on Russian airlines and the suspension of payment systems and services such as Visa and Mastercard. However, according to a Bangkok Post report, Nanthasiri says only around 15 Russian tourists have contacted the TAT’s helpline since it launched last Wednesday.

“They sought information about airlines, credit cards, and visas, and most of them had no problems.”

The call centre, set up to help both Russian and Ukrainian tourists, can be reached on 093 937 2086 and 094 819 1124. The Bangkok Post reports that the lines are manned by Russian speakers and are open from 8.30am to 7pm. According to Nanthasiri, a number of Russian tourists say they’ve been in touch with their embassy and are waiting for officials to arrange repatriation flights. They have reported no payment problems, saying they have enough funds for their stay. There was no information on Ukrainian tourists.

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Meanwhile, local tourism operators say they’re no longer seeing Russian tourists on Phuket beaches. Prior to the war on Ukraine, Russians accounted for between 70 and 80% of tourists on the island’s beaches. Since the start of the war, that has plummeted to around 5% and operators say beachgoers are now mainly German, Italian, Danish, or Swedish.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Maya Taylor

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