Amid heightened political tensions in Moscow, the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) observes a potential slowdown in Russian tourists to Thailand, although an increase in long-term stay visitors is also predicted if the situation worsens further. To comprehend the short-term market movements of Russian tourism in detail, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has instructed its Moscow office to keep a vigilant watch over the evolving scenario.
Russian tourism showed a decline in June, with arrivals falling to approximately 2,000 each day, dropping from the 4,000 to 5,000 observed in previous months. This information aligns with the fact that the peak season for Russian tourists had already concluded, as stated by the president of ATTA, Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn.
As of June 25, data from the Thai Tourism and Sports Ministry registered 784,428 arrivals from Russia this year. This Russian tourism figure trailed behind Malaysian and Chinese visitors, who totalled 1.98 million and 1.38 million respectively, thus taking the lead.
Sisdivachr further commented that political instability in Russia might not necessarily impact the number of visitors in the months ahead. However, there exists potential for reduced average spending within this demographic if the Russian ruble continues to devalue, noting a 15-month trough earlier this week, thereby impacting Russian tourism, reported Bangkok Post.
An interesting perspective was offered by Sisdivachr indicating that the current political upheaval might not entirely undermine Thai tourism. He noted that despite initial assumptions predicting the Russia-Ukraine conflict would deter Russian tourism in Thailand, the market remained robust leading into this year.
He explained, “Economic impacts stemming from political uncertainties in Russia would definitely affect middle-income earners. However, those with high spending power are seeking long-stay trips overseas.” Elaborating on this point, he stated that “Many of them purchased properties in southern Thailand this year and more of them are considering buying a second home here to escape from possible unrest in the future.”
Yuthasak Supasorn, the TAT governor, confirmed that monitoring of Russian events is ongoing, with a particular focus on incidents that could influence people’s travel choices. The Russian tourism instability began to unfold at a time in close proximity to the conclusion of the “Amazing Thailand Roadshow to CIS 2023” marketing programme by the TAT in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, from June 19 to June 23.
According to updates from the TAT Moscow office over the previous weekend, the disturbance has not yet impacted international transportation, with the standard influx and outflow of travellers in Moscow remaining uninterrupted. Yet, as part of its business continuity strategy, the TAT has prepared for emergencies by identifying alternative positions in countries with seamless flight connectivity, such as the United Arab Emirates.
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