Russians first climbed into the top spot at the end of November, and have maintained their winter holiday trend to Phuket throughout December.
According to the Phuket Immigration Daily Report for Tuesday (Dec 28), more than 17,513 Russians had landed in Phuket since the beginning of the month, followed by German nationals with 11,960 and British in third place with 9,476 arrivals.
Of note, since Monday arrivals entering Phuket under the Test & Go scheme, which has now been suspended, have begun to fall dramatically. Sandox arrivals, however, have yet to show a clear downward trend.
Also of note, the suspension of the Test & Go scheme never affected Russian tourist arrivals as Russia, and Kazakhstan and Ukraine, were never added to the list of approved countries.
According to the Phuket Reopening Daily Report issued by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Monday saw 4,372 tourists land on the island. Of those, 2,631 were Test & Go Tourists and 1,719 were Sandbox arrivals.
By Tuesday, the number of arrivals dropped to 3,139. Of those, Test & Go arrivals had fallen to 1,769, but Sandbox arrivals had fallen only to 1,340.
The tourists who landed on the island yesterday arrived on 17 flights: THAI Airways, TUI Fly, 2 private jets, Air Astana, Etihad, emirates, Finnair, Qatar Airways (2), Turkish Airlines, S7 Airline, Hong Kong Express, Scoot and Singapore Airlines (3).
As marked by the TAT reports, both Monday and Tuesday saw TUI flights bringing tourists to Phuket, despite reports still circulating in the media that travel giant TUI Nordic had cancelled all flights to Phuket since Dec 25. The company’s Sweden headquarters dismissed the reports in a direct reply to The Phuket News by email on Monday night.
Meanwhile, new direct flights to Phuket from Russian-speaking countries continue to launch. Sunday Airlines resumed flights to Phuket on Sunday (Dec 26), bringing 240 tourists from Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Ural Airlines resumed their direct flights on Christmas Eve (Dec 24), bringing 90 tourist arrivals from Irkutsk, in Russia’s Far East.