Ministry of Tourism and Sports estimates tourist arrivals from Russia will surge to 1.1 million trips by the close of 2016 after a lackluster performance in 2015.
Tourism and Sports Minister, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, noted that a positive trend has been established and there is confidence that it will be maintained through to 2017 and eventually exceed the record performance achieved in 2014.
“Thailand remains a very popular destination for Russian travellers…the market has potential to grow more, so we project the year will close with 1.1 million visits.”
Last year, the kingdom attracted 884,085 Russian visits, a decline of 44.97% from 1,606,430 visits in 2014. The poor performance was due to the economic crisis in Russia.
“To expand the market, we need to develop and increase tourism human resources especially Russian speaking tour guides…the ministry will continue to organise training programmes to serve this market.”
Thai Airways International will resume services between Bangkok and Moscow in October which would help to encourage business travel between the two countries.
THAI suspended its Bangkok to Moscow service, 29 March, 2015, but it was no longer a major player in bringing in tour groups as fares were not competitive.
The minister called for more new products to encourage niche markets such as health and wellness, weddings and honeymoons.
Besides Russia, CIS countries particularly Kazakhstan are a potential market that the country should tap to expand tourism, she said.
“Kazakhstan is a new market that we should focus…next year Kazakhstan will host a World Expo where we will showcase tourism at the Thailand Pavilion.”
Themed “Future Energy”, World Expo 2017 is scheduled to take place from 10 June to 10 September, 2017, in Astana, Kazakhstan.