Thailand’s travel and tourism industry anticipates Russian tourist boom in Phuket as the country approves the Sputnik Covid-19 vaccine.

Phuket’s leading tourism stakeholders welcome Thailand’s Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA)’s approval of the Sputnik Covid-19 vaccine as they expect a surge in Russian tourists, on the southern Thai island.

For many years Phuket has been a popular destination for Russian travellers, with just over 700,000 visiting in 2019 over a five-month period, all coming directly from the Russian Federation. 1.4 million Russians visited Phuket throughout the entire year.

Traditionally visiting between November and March to avoid harsh winter temperatures, Phuket has always been a popular destination for Russians looking for a warm tropical retreat. 2021 should hold no exception for prospective tourists already making plans for the winter.

“This is great news for Phuket. It’s time to go beyond the Sandbox and build a foundation for a broader tourism initiative,” said Phuket Tourist Association President, Bhummikitti Ruktaengam. “The industry can now get back to basics and focus on the northern European winter season. This is a big opportunity for Phuket. These are our legacy markets.”

Since July 1 this year, over 300,000 hotel rooms have been booked through August by international travellers arriving via Thailand’s Phuket Sandbox programme. As this high season approaches, these numbers are expected to rise. Russian carriers are scheduled to arrive in Phuket starting in October, adding to this tourism boom.

“The acceptance of the Sputnik vaccine is a game-changer for Phuket,” Ravi Chandran, the Managing Director of Laguna Phuket said. “The outbound Russian market is the biggest one in the world outside of China and the timing is perfect with the high season starting in November this year. Phuket Sandbox has proven to be a success and this will now take these achievements to greater heights still for all hotels, tourism stakeholders and the local community on the island.”

Laguna Phuket is located in the Bangtao Beach area, and consists of seven hotels, a Bangkok Hospital operated PCR test-centre, and acres of open spaces, gardens and lagoons. The resort has already been benefitting from the Phuket Sandbox programme, and the approval of the Sputnik vaccine will only further kickstart Phuket’s tourism industry and economy.

Laguna Phuket, in association with Delivering Asia Communications and C9 Hotelworks, will be hosting a special one-hour online virtual event featuring representatives from government, tour operators, hotels and airlines on September 9 at 3pm to discuss the impending arrival of the Russian market to Phuket.


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