Arrival of passengers from Russia a sign of recovery in Pattaya
A charter flight from Russia carrying 230 passengers destined for Pattaya City landed at U-Tapao Rayong-Pattaya International Airport yesterday, a sign that the popular coastal city's tourism industry is on the road to recovery.
Azur Air's Novosibirsk–U-Tapao flight is expected to run until at least March, said the Tourism Authority of Thailand's (TAT) Pattaya office.
Officials yesterday organised a special reception for the first batch of Russian passengers.
No such charter flight from Russia had landed at the U-Tapao airport for more than two years due to Covid-19, according to the office.
Hundreds of millions of baht are expected to be spent by these tourists while staying in Pattaya, said mayor Poramet Ngamphichet.
Pattaya offers a variety of services day and night to tourists, he said, adding local authorities are working hard to ensure visitors have a pleasant stay and an impressive experience in the city.
Police are stepping up security measures to deter crime, particularly drug dealing, illegal weapons trading and human trafficking, he said.
As many Russian tourists hope to get away from the cold winter in their home country, the three most popular travel agencies in Russia, including Anex, are arranging at least one charter flight to U-Tapao airport per day, said Sanphet Suphabowonsathian, president of Thai Hotels Association Eastern Chapter.
The number of charter flights is expected to increase to three flights per day in the future as the overall Covid-19 situation has improved, he said.
The new route operated by Azur Air from Novosibirsk, a city in Siberia in southern Russia, shows that Pattaya's tourism businesses are now ready to welcome tourists again, said Anoma Wongyai, director of TAT's Pattaya office.
Before the launch, the office held a roadshow in Russian cities drawing many potential visitors, she said, adding more than 1 million Russian tourists visited Pattaya each year before the Covid-19 pandemic began.