Wednesday , May 22 2024

Russian tourists flock back as Thailand eases visa policies

Thailand received 435,000 Russian visitors last year, 14 times more than in 2021, thanks to the easing of entry policies that allowed them a 45-day visa-free stay.

The number was equivalent to 30% of pre-pandemic arrival numbers, according to statistics from the Moscow office of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

Thailand started seeing an influx of Russian visitors in the final months of 2022 as they flocked there to escape their winter.

This year the Thai government expects 900,000-1 million Russian visitors.

Russian operators like Azur Air and Ikar Airline have already started charter flights from Moscow, Novosibirsk and Vladivostok to Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket.

Thailand received 11 million foreign visitors last year after it lifted Covid restrictions and relaxed visa policies. It is targeting 30 million this year.

Last year Vietnam received only 28,000 Russian tourists, a 25th of the number from pre-pandemic times.

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