The centre helped 15 people on its first day of operations on Wednesday (Mar 9), Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Phuket office Director Nanthasiri Ronnasiri said yesterday.
In announcing the opening of the call centre, Phuket Vice Governor Pichet Panapong on Wednesday said that the number of Russians and Ukrainians stuck in Phuket due to the invasion totalled about 5,000 people.
The call centre has Russian speakers available to provide assistance, Ms Nanthasiri said.
“Most tourists have asked for help with airlines, flights, visas, credit cards and the cost of accommodation and return travel expenses to their home country,” she said.
Ms Nanthasiri noted that not only tourists in Phuket and neighboring provinces had contacted the call centre, but also tourists in Bangkok, “because the call center in Phuket was the first to launch to assist stranded tourists”, she said.
“We will compile a list of all travelers who request assistance and separate them into two groups: travelers wishing to return to their home country; and those who want to stay but are unable to access funds to pay for services,” she said.
“The list will be presented to the Governor of the TAT to expedite further assistance to the tourists,” Ms Nanthasiri added.
Somwong Pruksalamats, a Russian-speaking guide now working at the call centre, said he had fielded calls from both Russians and Ukrainians.
"For visa issues, we coordinate with Phuket Immigration to assist," he said.
Mr Somwong added that most tourists are very happy with the assistance provided.
“They felt that they were not abandoned," he said.
The call centre can be contacted at 093-9372086 or 094-8191124, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The centre is open from 8:30am to 7pm each day.
The centre is currently expected to remain open until at least Mar 22.