Russians the top demographic in Phuket, will likely remain so

PHOTO: Phuket sees more Russians than any other demographic visiting now. (via InvestVine)

Over the Christmas holiday, Russian tourists were the number 1 demographic in Phuket, and with the tightening restrictions on entry to Thailand except for the Phuket Sandbox, that trend is expected to continue into the New Year holiday and beyond. Before the whole Covid pandemic kicked off, pre-2019, Russians were already a major tourism force in Phuket. Now, after being allowed to re-enter in Thailand’s reopening, the Russian travellers are steadily climbing to become the top country for arrivals since the end of November.

Today it’s -9 degrees in Moscow.

Russians spending their cold winter months on a tropical island has been a mainstay of Phuket tourism for many years, with the trend continually increasing up until the Covid-19 pandemic shut down international travel. But now Russia is back in the top spot of incoming tourists with almost as many travellers coming this month from there.

Phuket Immigration reported 17,513 Russians have come to the island since the beginning of December, with German tourists being the second most popular demographic welcoming 11,960 travellers and 9,476 British travellers in third place.

One factor that will likely keep Russia dominant in arrivals is tourism starting to contract with the suspension of the popular Test & Go entry programme that allowed only a few hours quarantine while waiting for Covid test results. While going back to quarantined entry is discouraging many travellers from the 63 Test & Go approved countries from making the trip to Thailand, countries like Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan were never on the approved list, so the Phuket Sandbox was the main point of entry for these nations, and remains so.

Direct flight options from hub cities in Russian-speaking countries continue to be added to the flight schedule into Phuket. Sunday Airlines relaunched their flights from Almaty in Kazakhstan to Phuket Phuket flights on Sunday, bringing 240 tourists. Ural Airlines flying from Irkutsk In the far East of Russia restarted their flights on Christmas with 90 passengers on their inaugural voyage.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.