Earlier this year Russian Association of Tour Operators (ATOR) reported that travellers from Russia started returning to the Land of Smiles amid the rainy season attracted by affordable prices.
ATOR, whose members include Russian tourism powerhouses Biblio Globus, Coral Travel, Intourist, Natalie Tours, Pegas Touristik and TUI Travel, noted that Phuket was one of the main beneficiaries of the trend. (See story here.)
The Department of Tourism, under the MoTS, reported 59,689 travellers from Russia visited Thailand in August, up 41.79% compared with August 2015.
Russian arrivals during the first eight months totalled 651,830 visitors (up 19.99% year-on-year), making Russia the largest of Thailand’s tourism source markets among non-Asian countries. The recovery has now been ongoing for several consecutive months.
In total Thailand enjoyed 2.87 million international arrivals in August (up 11% year-on-year) and 22.41mn since the beginning of the year (up 11.75%).
Despite the recent crackdown on zero-baht tours, China remains the largest contributor in terms of tourist arrival volume. According to MoTS, in August Thailand welcomed 891,382 visitors from China (up 11.34% year-on-year). Chinese arrivals during the first eight months of 2016 totalled 6.66mn (up 19.22% from 2015).
The latest figures from the MoTS also indicated a revival in Australian and New Zealand markets. The decline from those markets stopped and in August arrivals from these countries grew by 2.26% and 4.02%, respectively.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand expects about one million Russian arrivals to the Kingdom in 2016, up 13% on last year. Asked by The Phuket News earlier, Phuket Tourist Association President Sathirapong Na Takuatoong supported the forecast.
“The increase in the number of Russian tourists this year is undeniable, and the number of charter flights to Phuket is increasing,” Mr. Sathirapong agreed.
“I can’t say that these Russians will be higher quality than those who came two years ago, but they are spending more – about B5,000 per person and a day,” he added.