Tourism banking on Russia
Before Covid-19, Russian tourists were among the top source markets for the local tourism industry.
Although the Russian market has spiked since October, Pattaya operators are worried about the slow resumption of flights to U-tapao airport, which is struggling to meet demand as capacity is currently half the pre-Covid level.
At present, there are chartered flights operated by Azur Air from 11 cities in Russia to U-tapao airport.
One or two of those flights arrive at the airport per day.
"Tour operators insist the war with Ukraine hasn't really affected Russians visiting the country as the conflict takes place in Ukraine," the president of the Tourism Council of Chonburi said.
Russians are among the four main markets for Pattaya tourism operators, along with visitors from India, South Korea and Vietnam.
Chinese travellers are still hampered by Beijing's strict tourism controls.
Bookings in December and January already surged to 80%, mainly driven by demand from Russia, the president said.
However, as tour operators still request promotional prices to warm up the market, the average room rate remains 30-40% lower than before the pandemic.
Pattaya hopes for around 70,000 Russian arrivals from December until March next year.
As some countries in Europe have banned Russian tourists, more of them are choosing to travel to other countries, including Thailand.
The Phuket Tourist Association said the recovery rate of the Russian market in Phuket in November hit 80% of the 2019 figure, as more direct flights are available to the island.
- association: an official group of people who have joined together for a particular purpose - สมาคม
- bank on (verb): to rely on somebody/something; to depend on - พึ่งพา, เชื่อถือใน
- banned: officially prevented from doing something - ห้าม ห้างอย่างเด็ดขาด
- capacity: the ability to do a particular thing - ความสามารถ,สมรรถภาพ
- hamper: to stop someone or something from making progress or developing; to hinder - ขัดขวาง, เป็นอุปสรรค
- operators (noun): people or companies that run a business - ผู้ดำเนินกิจการทางธุรกิจ, ผู้ประกอบธุรกิจ
- pandemic: a disease that affects almost everyone in a very large area - โรคที่มีการแพร่กระจายหรือระบาดไปทั่ว
- recovery: the process of becoming normal and healthy again - ฟื้นฟูสภาพ
- resumption (noun): the act of beginning something again after it has stopped - การเริ่มต้นใหม่
- spike (verb): to increase suddenly - พุ่งพรวดขึ้น
- surge (verb): to move forward together very quickly - เคลื่อนเข้ามา