Russian and Ukrainian tourists in Phuket get help

Russian and Ukrainian tourists in Phuket get help

Hotels offer lower rates to visitors stranded because of sanctions and invasion

Longtail boats are moored off a beach in Phuket, ready to take passengers. (Photo: Achadthaya Chuenniran)
Longtail boats are moored off a beach in Phuket, ready to take passengers. (Photo: Achadthaya Chuenniran)

PHUKET: Businesses on this resort island are helping Russian and Ukrainian tourists who remain stranded because of events related to the conflict in Ukraine, says a senior hotelier.

“Due to flight cancellations, some 3,000 visitors from Russia and Ukraine are stranded in Phuket,” said Kongsak Khoopongsakorn, president of the southern chapter of the Thai Hotels Association. “They include two groups, the first being tourists who plan to return home soon and the second being those who wish to remain here until the (Russia-Ukraine) situation improves.”

For those who wish to stay in Phuket longer, some hotels are offering lower rates on rooms, while those affected by financial sanctions and interrupted payment methods may be asked to stay in accommodations that are more affordable, he said on Saturday.

Russians had been the biggest group of arrivals in Phuket since Thailand reopened to international visitors in November last year. But the tourism situation in the province will remain sluggish until the war is over, he said.

During the current low season, he said, the average hotel occupancy rate in Phuket is 20%, with about 3,000 tourists from the United Kingdom and other European countries.

More tourists from India and Saudi Arabia are expected to visit the kingdom in July and August. More Thai visitors are also expected during school breaks in April and October, but the latest wave of Covid-19 and the economic situation may bring down the number, he said.

“Phuket tourism campaigns are being carried out and we hope that the occupancy rate will increase by 50% to 60% during Songkran,” said Mr Kongsak.

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