Thailand expects Russian tourism rebound

The Thai pavilion at the International Russian Travel Market-Leisure (OTDYKH-Leisure) trade show
The Thai pavilion at the International Russian Travel Market-Leisure (OTDYKH-Leisure) trade show

Thailand said it expects that visitor arrivals from Russia will rebound in the coming months and years, following a recent downturn caused by the country’s economic woes.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) recently took part in the International Russian Travel Market-Leisure (OTDYKH-Leisure) trade show, where 14 Thai hotels, tour operators and travel companies were represented at the Thai Pavilion.

Russian visitor arrivals to Thailand have surged in the past decade, from just 188,000 in 2006 to 1.6 million in 2014. The TAT admitted it is “feeling the impact” of the recent decline in Russian outbound travellers, but said it is expecting the market to rebound soon. The TAT is projecting between 900,000 and one million Russian visitors this year.

This optimism follows the launch of a 30-day visa waiver scheme for Russian visitors, and increased air lift between the two countries. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev also visited Thailand earlier this year and the two countries agreed to increase the trade turnover to US$10 billion by 2020.

Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Thailand's Minister of Tourism & Sports
Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Thailand’s Minister of Tourism & Sports

Thailand and Russia have signed a tourism cooperation agreement covering the period 2015-2017, and Russia is planning to establish a cultural centre in Bangkok.

“We highly recognise the significance of the Russian market. We also all realise the current economic impact, which has affected all of us,” said Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Thailand’s Minister of Tourism & Sports, who led the Thai delegation.

“We are continuing our promotions and programmes as normal. As such, we are here at the OTDYKH-Leisure 2015 to enhance the cooperation and partnership with you all in order to lead us out of the current situation.”

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