TAT hopes Sputnik V’s nod will attract Russian visitors

Pattaya is a popular destination for Russian tourists. (Photo: Chaiyot Pupattanapong)

Thai tourism hopes to add 500,000 Russian visitors to its million international tourists this year after the approval of the Sputnik V vaccine for the sandbox program, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said.

“Russia was one of our tourism sources with 1.4 million visitors before the pandemic. An influx of Russian tourists to Greece and Turkey in the midst of the pandemic proves that there is demand from this market,” he said. said TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn.

He said the agency had made an earlier forecast of 1.2 million international tourists this year, but due to a resurgence of Covid-19 everywhere, the total number could drop to 1 million.

After the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) allowed tourists vaccinated with Sputnik V to visit sandbox destinations, TAT hopes to attract at least 500,000 Russian tourists this year, which will help bring the total number of foreign visitors to 1 million.

He said the Department of Disease Control was set to approve the CCSA order by the end of this month.

In addition to 20 million people in Russia who have been vaccinated with Sputnik V, more than 3.7 billion people in 69 countries around the world have also received the same vaccine, including potential markets like Vietnam.

Siripakorn Cheawsamoot, TAT deputy governor for Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Americas, said Russians should visit sandbox areas no earlier than October, as chartered flights will need ” one month to prepare group operations and reservations.

The TAT will also contact other airlines to arrange regular flights to Phuket, as 50% of Russians, mostly solo travelers, book their own tickets.

While the CCSA has given the green light to the 7 + 7 extension from Phuket, TAT will discuss with Bangkok Airways the possibility of resuming flights from Phuket to Samui after they were disrupted during the semi-lockdown at nationwide.

The TAT will continue to work on the travel bubble talks with Vietnam, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea, while researching more potential areas in the eastern region to join the extension program, such as Koh Lan. in Chon Buri and Koh Chang and Koh Kut in Trat. which can connect through U-tapao airport.

In terms of the internal market, the agency will deploy two stimulus campaigns during this year to meet the deadline for the rehabilitation budget.

We Travel Together, a hotel subsidy program, and Tour Teaw Thai, a 40% subsidy on national tourism packages up to 5,000 baht, are expected to continue in restricted areas that are safe for travel.

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