Thai tourism officials are hoping for 2,000,000 Russian tourists to visit the Kingdom of Thailand next year.
According to the Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) Moscow office, Asian tourist paradise could hit this record number if it maintains its ‘friendly country’ status with Russian government officials.
Traditionally, Thailand registers an influx of visitors from Russia during the high season, but now, Russian tourists are flocking to Thailand all year round, due to severe worldwide sanctions imposed on Russia over its unprovoked and brutal war of aggression launched against neighboring Ukraine.
With EU airspace closed to Russian flights since last March, once-popular vacation spots like Italy, Spain, and Greece are now more or less off limits for Russian holidaymakers.
The European Union also suspended a 2007 visa facilitation agreement with Russia last year, while some countries, like Poland, Lithuania and Estonia banned entry for Russians, even those with Schengen area visas.
With Europe tightening the rules, Thailand is already seeing a boom in Russian visitors.
The kingdom has already seen 840,000 visitors from Russian Federation this year, ranking it among the top five choices for Russian travelers. And this number is expected to reach 1.3 million by the end of the year, or match the record 1.48 million recorded in 2019.
Thailand was the fourth-most popular destination for Russian tourists last year, behind Türkiye with 3.7 million trips, the United Arab Emirates with 900,000, and Egypt with 760,000.
Even though Russians tend to stay longer and spend more money than other nationalities when in Thailand, TAT cautioned that Russian airlines do not yet have enough Thai flights scheduled to meet the increased demand, while Thai carriers primarily concentrate on short haul flights.
Accordingly, TAT said that it will encourage more airlines to open Russia-Thailand routes, and promote Thai tourism via connecting flights.