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Russians return to Phuket

PHUKET: The first direct commercial passenger flight from Russia since the tourism shutdown last year arrived in Phuket yesterday morning (Nov 6), bringing 277 tourists from Moscow.

By The Phuket News

Sunday 7 November 2021, 08:00AM

Aeroflot Russian Airlines Flight SU274 from Sheremetyevo International Airport landed at 8:50am.

Waiting at Gate 11 to welcome the arrivals were Phuket Vice Governor Phichet Panaphong, Phuket International Airport General Manager Monchai Tanode along with a host of representatives from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Phuket office and other government agencies.

According to the post by AoT Phuket announcing the arrival, the passengers comprised the first from Russia to arrive in Phuket under the Test & Go** scheme, as well as others arriving under the Phuket Sandbox scheme. 

The arrival of the Russian tourists follows Vladimir V. Sosnov, Consul General of the Russian Federation for Phuket Province, meeting with Vice Governor Pichet early last month to discuss the prospect of Russian tourists returning to visit the island.

At that time V/Gov Pichet noted that only 496 Russian tourists had travelled to Phuket under the Phuket Sandbox project since Sept 1.

Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, President of the Phuket Tourist Association, has marked that Russian tourists will play a major part in Phuket’s tourism recovery.

Mr Bhummikitti said that even though Russia had recently seen spiking caseloads of infections, Phuket had confidence in its safety protocols, with only 0.3% of Sandbox arrivals testing positive for the virus over the past four months.

“After November 15, there will be an increase in the number of countries that can travel to Sandbox segments,” Mr Bhummikitti said.

Internal - Phuket Live Radio 89.5

At present, 825 international flights from 17 airlines are scheduled to arrive in Phuket in November, compared with 562 flights from 11 airlines in October, he explained.

Considering the expansion in the number of flights and load factors for each flight, local tourism operators believe that Phuket would expect to receive 300,000 visitors throughout December, giving an average of 10,000 visitors a day, Mr Bhummikitti said.

“The occupancy rate this month could gradually improve to 25-30% from 18-20% in October, before increasing to 35% in December,” he said.

Mr Bhummitkitti remained optimistic, yet cautious, over the current forecasts, which predict a significant recovery for Phuket’s tourism industry next year.

“We’ll have to look at it a bit longer. I think it might take another two weeks in order to have more clarity,” he said.

European source markets at this stage seemed to be more likely to return as travel restrictions there are eased and as they enter their winter months, Mr Bhummikitti said.

** The Phuket News has yet to see Russia reported as added to the list of 63 countries and territories allowed as departues of origin for the Test & Go scheme. See the list of countries as reported by the TAT here.

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Tim. K. | 07 November 2021 - 17:21:25

A lot of Russians were fleeing these days from Russia to avoid the lockdown there. I have been to Russia a few month ago and the way they are wearing their masks unacceptable. Either they wear it as a chin mask or mouth mask or not all. No wonder they have one the highest infections rates and death tolls and they don't belive in beeing vaccinated. I just hope they don't spread the Virus. 

Kurt | 07 November 2021 - 16:45:08

We are not sure or there is no spike in Covid-19 cases after veggie festival. The way Covid figures 'move', it could be a 'tourist visiting promotion' thing. Seen in that frame work nothing will surprise me.

Foot | 07 November 2021 - 15:43:46

Russia is currently experiencing a large surge in COVID, so, of course Thailand welcomes these carriers to Phuket where only 51% of the Thais have been effectively vaccinated. What could go wrong?  Anyone see the Royal family or Prime Minister lately?

DeKaaskopp | 07 November 2021 - 12:44:15

@Nasa You predicted a big spike in Covid cases after the vegetarian festival.That did not happen.Lets see what happens with your newest prediction. And by the way: Where is "Bangladeshi road"?

JohnC | 07 November 2021 - 09:26:14

Here we go again. Back to the bad old days of the Russian invasion. What is it about their nation that produces such poor behaviour towards others, especially when you are guests here. Next encouraged back will be the Chinese hordes that the locals despise so much as well. 

Nasa12 | 07 November 2021 - 08:30:59

Well are Sputnik vaccine  approved off WHO ? No it’s not.So few weeks from today we want to se Phuket close down due to a major outbreak of covid-19 "Delta". Every one can see the big party in Bangladeshi road and Rawai. 


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