Tourism sector expects 500,000 Russian visitors after Sputnik V vaccine endorsement

THE Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) hopes to add 500,000 Russian visitors to its 1 million international tourists this year, after the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) allowed tourists inoculated with the Sputnik V vaccine to visit “sandbox” destinations in the country, NNT said today (Aug. 19).

TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said Russia was one of the country’s tourism sources with 1.4 million visitors per year prior to the pandemic. An influx of Russian tourists to Greece and Turkey during the pandemic proves that there’s demand in this market.

He said the agency previously forecast of 1.2 million international tourists this year but, due to a resurgence of Covid-19 everywhere, that number may drop to 1 million.

According to the TAT, the Russians are expected to start visiting “sandbox” areas by October at the earliest, as charter flights will need one month to prepare operations and group bookings.

The TAT will also contact other airlines to arrange scheduled flights to Phuket, as 50% of Russians, mostly individual travellers, book their own tickets.

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