Interest of Russian tourists to travel to Thailand increases by 20% amid ‘open skies for friendlies’ announcement

PHUKET: Moscow’s announcement that Russia was lifting COVID-19 related restrictions on flights to 52 countries from yesterday (April 9) spurred immediate growth in ticket search inquiries from Russia to foreign states, with searches for Thailand jumping 20%. But actual flights have yet to resume.

The Russian company S7 Airlines in Krabi on February 24, the day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Photo: PR Krabi via TAT Newsroom

“As of April 9, we are lifting the restrictions set to combat the coronavirus pandemic, which applied to our scheduled and charter flights between Russia and a number of other countries,” Russian Prime Minister Mikhail said. Mishustin. mentioned Monday, April 4, prompting an immediate response from potential tourists who began searching for available flights to various destinations, including Thailand, one of the favorite destinations for Russians before the most recent crisis.

According to OneTwoTrip – a popular vacation planning service in Russia – requests for tickets surged on the day of the announcement. In some cases, the peak interest reached 350%, mentioned Elena Shelehova, head of the OneTwoTrip press service.

“According to search queries made by customers of the service on April 4 amid the announcement of the rollback of COVID restrictions on flights to specific countries, growth in interest is being seen for virtually all destinations – from 5% to 350% compared to the average daily numbers for the week of March 29 to April 3,” Russian news agency TASS quoted Shelehova as saying.

Searches for tickets to Thailand on April 4 increased by 20%, for Vietnam by 32%, for the Philippines by 55%, for the Maldives by 22%, for Turkey by 18%.

Other “exotic” destinations posted even higher figures. Interest in Fiji, Zimbabwe, Jamaica and Madagascar jumped from 220 to 290%.

Like reported Per TASS, restrictions were lifted for 52 “friendly” countries that did not join Western sanctions imposed after Russia invaded Ukraine in late February. Thailand is one of the states considered “friends of Russia”.

Phuket Officials welcomed the decision by sharing a story from WorkpointTODAY promoting how Thailand has maintained its “friendly” status with Russia and pointing out that Phuket may soon see Russian tourists returning to the island.

“Russia still does not open air routes to countries listed in the hostile nation that jointly announced sanctions against Russia,” the report said.

Yet actual flights are still suspended as Russian airlines, which mainly served routes between Russia and Thailand, face heavy pressure from Western sanctions, including the cancellation of rental contracts that can lead to seizure. of an airplane landing in a foreign country.

Airlines are also unable to purchase spare parts or receive maintenance services.

Limited connecting flights are operated by foreign operators, but are expensive due to re-routing and high oil prices. Direct flights by THAI Airways International are currently not available.

Thailand officially maintained its neutrality in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, in line with the ethnic stance of most ASEAN countries. Yet the kingdom supported the United Nations resolution adopted on March 2 calling on Russian forces to withdraw from Ukraine and deploring “Russian aggression against Ukraine”.

April 6, Thailand abstained in the vote to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council as 93 members voted in favor and the resolution passed, just like the previous one.