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Phuket tourism operators more hopeful after Sputnik approval



PHOTO: Flickr/editor_4tamilmedia

Phuket’s tourism operators are feeling slightly more confident about the last quarter of the year, following the approval of the Sputnik V vaccine. The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration has added the Russian vaccine to the list of vaccines that will be accepted when granting entry to foreign tourists arriving through the Phuket’s sandbox scheme.

Thailand’s tourism sector has taken a hammering since the start of the pandemic and, with the country now battling its worst outbreak since the start of the pandemic, the situation remains gloomy. TTR Weekly reports that the kingdom welcomed just 40,447 international arrivals in the first 6 months of this year, a 99.72% reduction on the 6,691,574 who arrived during the same period last year. (The 2020 period of course includes the first few months of the year before the pandemic hit.)

Of the foreign arrivals in the first half of this year, just 1,655 were Russian, compared to 586,900 in the first 6 months of 2020. In 2019, during the halcyon days before the pandemic, Thailand welcomed over 700,000 Russians during peak season and 1.4 million throughout the year.

Responding to the approval of the Sputnik vaccine, tourism operators have expressed hope that the situation will improve for the high season. This despite the island implementing a ban on the sale of alcohol in restaurants and hotels, while all bars and nightlife venues remain closed. Adding to the challenges facing Phuket is the fact that most Europeans are choosing to holiday closer to home this year, not to mention the high costs associated with the island’s sandbox scheme. Still, the approval of the Sputnik vaccine has given Ravi Chandran from Laguna Phuket grounds for hope.

“The acceptance of the Sputnik vaccine is a game changer for Phuket. The outbound Russian market is the biggest one in the world outside of China, and the timing is perfect with the high season starting in November this year.”

For more information on how to get into Thailand during the pandemic, CLICK HERE.



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