Russia visa deal brings mixed reactions

Tourists enjoy spending time on Mai Khao Beach in Phuket province. (Photo: AFP)
Tourists enjoy spending time on Mai Khao Beach in Phuket province. (Photo: AFP)

Tourism operators have expressed different views on the cabinet's extension of the length of stay for Russian tourists to 90 days.

The cabinet on Monday extended the period of stay for Russian nationals under the visa exemption scheme from 30 to 90 days, with aim of spurring the market during high season.

While operators in the South believe the policy will generate increased spending, others in the country are concerned about a possible influx of illegal workers.

Thanet Supornsahasrungsi, former president of the Chon Buri Tourism Council and group executive director of Sunshine Hotels and Resorts, said the extension might attract more Russians who intend to work illegally in Thailand, which would affect local people who are looking for jobs, such as tour guides and drivers.

Foreign companies would also exploit this policy more easily by using nominees or by hiring their own imported members of staff, said Mr Thanet.

However, tourism operators in Koh Samui and Phuket believe they can reap benefits from Russians staying in the country for longer.

"As a lot of long-stay tourists and remote workers from Russia have resided in Koh Samui and Koh Phangan, the extension will help attract this segment and benefit the overall local economy," said Ratchaporn Poolsawadee, president of the Tourism Association of Koh Samui.

He said there might be some Russians working illegally, but most tourists still require products and services from local people.

"Samui has strong local operator communities. We can assure you that tourism revenue would be generated for local pockets," he said.

Phuket will also be able to receive a higher level of spending from tourists, said Thaneth Tantipiriyakij, president of the Phuket Tourist Association.

"The post-Covid trend has shown that tourists are keen to stay for longer at destinations," said Mr Thaneth.


  • exemption: permission to not have to do something, such as making a payment, following a rule, etc. - ข้อยกเว้น
  • exploit: to use unfairly for your own benefit - เอาเปรียบ, หาประโยชน์ใส่ตัว
  • extended: made longer or larger - ซึ่งยาวออกไป, ซึ่งกว้างออกไป, ซึ่งยืดออกไป
  • influx: a large number of people or things coming in to a place - การหลั่งไหล การไหลบ่า  (เข้าไปยังที่ใดที่หนึ่ง)
  • keen: very interested, eager or wanting (to do) something very much - สนใจ, ใจจดใจจ่อ
  • mixed reactions: having several different opinions - ความเห็นที่แตกต่างกัน
  • national: a citizen of a particular country - ประชาชน
  • nominee: a legal arrangement whereby investments are held by a a person or company on behalf of the real owner - ผู้รับถือหุ้นให้บุคคลอื่นที่ไม่ต้องการจะเปิดเผยตัวตน
  • reap: to get something as a result of something that you do - ได้รับผลตอบแทน
  • scheme: a plan that is developed by a government or large organisation in order to provide a particular service for people - แผนการ โครงการ
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