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Tourism official proposes payment solutions for Russians in Phuket

Tara Abhasakun

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Following the move by Mastercard and Visa to cut off services to cards issued in Russia, Phuket tourism officials are proposing solutions for Russians stranded there. Yesterday, the president of the Phuket Tourism Business Association proposed three possible solutions: Allow Thai commercial banks to support Russia’s Mir payments system, allow the use of Chinese payment systems such as union pay, or allow cryptocurrencies to be used as a payment method.

“This three-pronged proposal to TAT and BoT would offer a solution to this problem”.

The president said there are currently about 3,000 Russian tourists stranded in Phuket. He said many of them can’t return home because they can’t access financial funds. Others, he said, can’t return home because their flights are suspended.

The Phuket tourism president isn’t the only official calling on Thailand to adapt to stranded Russians’ situation. Earlier this week, Thailand’s ambassador to Russia said Thailand’s tourism industry must help with Russians’ needs. He suggested food tourism advertise more affordable dishes, and not just delicacies. Like the tourism president, the ambassador also suggested letting Russians in Thailand use cryptocurrency as payment.

He said countries competing with Thailand for tourists, such as Turkey, Egpyt, and Dubai, have adapted to attract Russian tourists during the conflict.

While there are about 3,000 Russians currently in Phuket, there are 5,000 Russians and Ukrainians on the island combined. There are currently over 7,000 Russian and Ukrainian tourists across Thailand.

Russians made of the biggest group of tourists in Phuket in December, and over 17,000 of them arrived on the Island that month. They were also a major part of tourism since pre-Covid days.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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    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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