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Russian arrivals ripe to rebound, says TAT

BANGKOK: Russian tourism in Thailand is expected to recover this year as the rouble has made gains on the back of rising oil prices.

By Bangkok Post

Tuesday 10 May 2016, 09:22AM

Foreign tourists sunbathe at a beach in Pattaya, a top spot among Russian visitors. Thailand expects to welcome one million Russian tourists this year thanks to a strengthening rouble. Photo: Bangkok Post

Foreign tourists sunbathe at a beach in Pattaya, a top spot among Russian visitors. Thailand expects to welcome one million Russian tourists this year thanks to a strengthening rouble. Photo: Bangkok Post

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) forecasts Russian tourist arrivals will reach one million this year.

The rouble, buoyed by a surge in oil prices, buys 60 satang (B0.6) at current rates, up from an average of 50 satang last year.

The number of Russian visitors began to rise in February and kept growing in March said Tanes Petsuwan, TAT’s executive director for Europe, Africa and the Middle East. That momentum is expected to continue throughout the year, he added.

The 13 per cent increase in Russian visitors forecast by the TAT would be prominent relative to visitors from Europe as a whole, whose numbers are expected to increase by 6% to 5.66 million.

This boost would follow a rocky two years in which Russian arrivals dropped consistently, said Mr Tanes.

“I think the Russian tourist market has already bottomed out,” he said. “Growth from now on may not be as sharp as it was in the past. We are likely to see a U shape from the growth of the Russian market.”

In 2014, Russian arrivals fell to 1.6 million after the market peaked in 2013, when Thailand welcomed 1.7 million Russian travellers. Russian arrivals then nosedived to 884,085 in 2015. The effects of this drop were felt at major tourist destinations, especially Pattaya, which has long enjoyed a large Russian tourist presence.

Although Chinese arrivals have offset the drop in Russians travellers to Pattaya, they typically spend less money.

Despite the decrease in the number of Russian arrivals, the TAT found that their overall quality is improving, with Russian tourists now spending more on hotel accommodation and activities.

In 2013, spending by each Russian visitor stood at B3,800 a day. That amount has risen to B4,500, or B300 higher than the European average.

Apart from dining out and frequenting drinking establishments, their entertainment choices are becoming more varied.

Spas, beauty-related services and cooking classes are becoming increasingly popular activities among female Russian tourists, said Mr Tanes.

Muay Thai bouts are another spectacle popular among male and female visitors from Russia alike, he added.

Such tourists usually stay at resort villas and luxury hotels. Phuket is their primary destination, with many now visiting Krabi province and Khao Lak in Phang Nga province.

The TAT expects to see a clear shift in terms of quality versus mass market tourists from Russia later this year. It predicts that quality tourists will form 50% of total Russian visitors, up from 30%.

If the economic uptick continues, the proportion of quality Russian visitors may reach 55% by 2017, said Mr Tanes.

Although Vietnam has become a popular destination for Russian travellers, the TAT is confident it is a destination for low- and middle-level Russian tourists.


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Rorii | 15 May 2016 - 17:24:56

Seems Joe12, and swerve, could be the same person, just trolling, obviously no friends, or if they have then there friends don't agree with their ridiculous points of view... Alan, I thought you where against anonymous commenters.  

Joe12 | 14 May 2016 - 18:11:48

Kurt...absolute garbage and nonsense. I'm with swerv. 

Foot | 14 May 2016 - 10:10:45

swerv.  Kurt used debt ridden teachers as an example of many other Russians who are heavily indebted.  By Kurt's English, he is probably Russian, so, don't chastise him for the imperfect English.
Russian tourism is down over 60% due to the ruble and Phuket rules against tourists enjoying the beach.  Public pronouncements of increases in tourism aren't credible.  

Yoda | 13 May 2016 - 19:35:37

No need for you to explain Kurt. I had no problem understanding you the first time.

Kurt | 13 May 2016 - 13:27:26

Swerve: I try to tell you 1 more time.
The link is: TAT, as being a thai organization, and sure knows as we all know how difficult it is for many thai people to get out of their debts ( I use the enormous  thai teachers debt as a example, something what worries the thai government a very lot), has no reason to be so optimistic on forehand that the Russian tourist waves start to come up because th...

swerv | 12 May 2016 - 11:22:35

KURT: I am confused because there is no correlation between debt ridden teachers and an upsurge in Russian tourists. What is the link between the two? There is no link. It\'s like saying there will be an upsurge of European tourists because the teachers have had a pay rise.

Kurt | 11 May 2016 - 21:23:07

Swerv; Quite simple answer. It is to like TAT to realize that Russian people, many in debt, are not immediately start to travel coz the rouble is going up a bit.
People have to clear their debts first, not a easy thing to do.
That takes time, and I used the deplorable financial position of the thousands of thai teachers (huge debts) as a example. 
A situation what this moment worries the govern...

swerv | 11 May 2016 - 16:32:22

KURT: What does debt ridden teachers have to do with an upsurge in Russian tourists? This is your comment: \\\"TAT must know/understand that, as many thai, among them thousands of thai teachers are heavily in debts this moment.
Not easy to clear debts.\\\"
Do me and others a big favour and get someone to proof read your comments BEFORE you post them.
Drivel as normal.

Nasa12 | 11 May 2016 - 10:54:59

Where you get this nr from In 2013, spending by each Russian visitor stood at B3,800 a day. That amount has risen to B4,500, or B300 higher than the European average? @you have only Russian and China people on Phuket now, and my be 3 % from another Contry.

Nasa12 | 11 May 2016 - 10:50:24

More 0 Bath Tourist, good for Phuket.

Kurt | 10 May 2016 - 09:49:15

Expected upgoing/rise of russian quality tourists?
Or just the low- and middle- level Russians?

Well, if they return thay also still would spend less, same as the Chinese tourist. 
So much popular is Thailand not anymore among the Russians.

Anyway, there seems to be a better outlook for the drinking establishments, thai bargirls.
And  Spa- and 'beauty'- related thai activities, th...

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