Russia-Ukraine war: A Major Blow to Thailand’s Tourist Industry

7,000 Ukrainian & Russian Tourists Stranded in Thailand.

Thailand’s tourist sector, which has been struggling to recover from the effects of the pandemic for the past two years, is now facing a new challenge in the form of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The problem is most obvious in Thailand, where many Russian tourists go.

What is Thailand doing to help the thousands of stranded Ukrainian and Russian tourists?

Many Russians and Ukrainian tourists are not able to use their credit cards. They can’t pay for accommodation or food. Many have now found themselves stranded by both the fallout from the international sanctions and a lack of flights back to Russia or Ukraine. What was once a dream holiday in Thailand or other destinations has turned into a nightmare.

According to The Bangkok Post, following the restart of the Test and Go scheme. Thailand’s Department of Disease Control reported that Russia led the list of international tourist arrivals in February with 17,599 visitors, followed by 13,964 visitors from Germany and 11,278 from the UK. Thailand’s Finance Ministry thinks that if the sanctions against Russia go on for a long time, Russian tourist spending will decrease by at least 35.9 billion baht, or about $1 billion USD.

According to Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Ministry, the Russian market generated 103 billion baht, or about 3 billion USD, for the tourism sector in 2019.

With that amount of money, it is expected to cut Thailand’s GDP by 0.2% if the estimated 450,000 Russian visitors in 2022 aren’t able to come to the country.

As for the Russian and Ukrainian tourists already in Thailand. More than a dozen nations imposed restrictions on Russian planes when Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, including prohibiting Russian planes from flying across their borders. According to US President Joe Biden, all Russian planes will be barred from entering US airspace beginning March 2. As a result, around 150,000 tourists worldwide are trapped and unable to return to their home countries, and thousands are stranded in Thailand.

Russians don’t have access to their money

Russians waiting in line to take money out of their bank accounts.

After sanctions on several major Russian banks, tourists from Russia are now having their banking and travel issues in popular tourist locations, including Surat Thani, Phuket, and Pattaya.

Aside from a slew of sanctions aimed at Russian oligarchs and the Russian economy, the West has also barred some Russian banks from participating in the international SWIFT payment system, allowing easy money to flow across borders.

Russians are hurrying to withdraw cash from ATMs as the ruble continues to plummet due to rising international sanctions against the Kremlin. According to an expert, Russians aren’t going to spend as much money on vacations as they are saving for a rainy day.

Hotels and resorts in Thailand’s Phuket and Krabi regions have stopped taking credit cards from Russian visitors, who are now unable to pay their bills.

This has impacted the Thai economy and tourism in several tourist-oriented areas. Overall, Thailand had more than an 83% decrease in tourists in 2020 compared to 2019, before the pandemic hit. On top of that, there is a new crisis in Europe.

Russia-Ukraine tourists can not fly back home

As of March 1, Ukrainian tourists in Thailand could not return home because Ukraine’s airspace was mainly closed, and many Russians could not make credit card payments for services such as food, transit, and accommodation.

Russian tourists were also unable to make international money transfers, and many are now stuck and can’t get their money. Many Russian tourists have trouble paying for hotel rooms and other expenses with their credit cards. Many Ukrainian tourists want to stay longer and pay for extensions to see and closely monitor the situation in their home country.

Numerous Phuket hotels are working with the Bank of Thailand to figure out how to take payments from Russian customers.

In response to the most severe sanctions ever put on Russia for its actions in Ukraine, a top Thai hotel official says that 15% of all Russian tourist reservations have been cancelled, which isn’t very good news.

Another Thailand resort executive said Russian guests are now only allowed to pay for their stay in cash in many parts of the country. Hotels in other provinces, including Bangkok, are experiencing similar issues.

In March and April, Russian visitors flock to Thailand’s coastal districts, particularly Phuket, Samui, and Krabi, where they spend an average of seven to 21 days.

Since the beginning of March, the number of Russians arriving in Thailand under the “Test and Go” program has plummeted from an average of 700 per day to less than 400.

Sixty-three thousand Russian visitors had arrived in Thailand since November 1, when the “Thailand Pass” was reopened to travellers under the “Test and Go” and “Sandbox” programs.

Tour operators that arrange trips for tourists from both countries were experiencing difficulty in making and receiving payments via credit cards and foreign transfers and obtaining airline tickets.

In addition, some people from both countries were now “stranded” because of flight bans, and some Russians were unable to travel because of more sanctions. This made it much more difficult.

Lack Of Long-Haul Flights

It’s not just Russians who will be affected by this. A lack of long-haul flights from Europe may make Europeans less inclined to travel. Flights from the United Kingdom to Thailand have been disrupted or rerouted, making travel to Thailand more complicated and expensive for Europeans. Ukraine’s airspace is being avoided by aircraft. This has an impact on people’s travel motivations.

Others may see things differently. If airlines remain operational, Russians are expected to continue their current travel arrangements. Most Russians who travelled to Thailand, notably in Pattaya, had properties or businesses.

The Thai Foreign Minister said that Thailand might need to fine-tune its policy on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Still, it will not rush to condemn Russia like many other countries have done because it will not help to improve the situation. Thailand is keeping a careful eye on the situation in Ukraine. It may need to modify its policy to be more tangible and assist the situation rather than merely condemn it. Some things, he said, should be allowed to happen at their own pace, and he used the conflict in Ukraine as an example.

Thailand vote against Russia’s aggression in Ukraine

Thailand did vote against Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. Along with 140 other nations.

During the 11th Emergency Special Session of the UN General Assembly, Thailand did vote against Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. Along with 140 other nations, Thailand voiced its displeasure at Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and called on Russia to halt the conflict and evacuate its troops. Vietnam and the Lao were the only ASEAN countries to abstain, as well as countries such as China, India, Iran, and Iraq.

It was comforting to see Thailand vote against Russia’s unlawful war rather than abstain or abstain. Even if more could be done, the government of Thailand and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs deserve some praise for standing up for international justice and a rules-based international order.

At the moment, Thai authorities have stated that they will eliminate the application costs for approximately 7,000 Russian and Ukrainian stranded visitors who want to renew their visas in Thailand. It will also look into ways to help those whose flights have been cancelled due to international flight cancellations. In order to extend their 30-day visas, Ukrainians and Russians do not need to pay a charge of 1,900 baht (about $60). For Russian travellers, Thai tourism companies are partnering with China’s UnionPay to offer another payment option.

In the face of mortal danger, Ukraine continues to stand up to the Russian-occupied city of Kherson. One Ukrainian jumped on a Russian armoured tank while waving the Ukrainian flag. Putin’s Russians can capture a city, but they can’t control the people. Ukraine is braving this invasion with defiance and courage.


Click Here To Download Free eBook, An introduciton to Thailand

Author: Thom

Hi, I’m currently living in Thailand. I’m a artist, designer, travel blogger, and sometimes a YouTuber... Tags: Viator Tours Thailand, Viator Bangkok Airport Transfer, Chiang Mai Viator

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *