Russian tourists’ interest in traveling to Thailand increases by 20% on the announcement of “open skies for friendlies”.

Russian tourists’ interest in traveling to Thailand increases by 20% on the announcement of “open skies for friendlies”.

PHUKET: Moscow’s announcement that Russia is lifting COVID-19 restrictions on flights to 52 countries from yesterday (9. However, actual flights have yet to resume.

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

“Starting April 9, we are lifting the restrictions to combat the coronavirus pandemic that applied to our scheduled and charter flights between Russia and a number of other countries,” Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said called on Monday (April 4), which provoked an immediate reaction from potential tourists, who began searching for available flights to various destinations, including Thailand, one of the most popular destinations for Russians before the recent crisis.

Ticket requests skyrocketed on the day of the announcement, according to OneTwoTrip — a popular vacation-planning service in Russia. In some cases the interest rate increase was as much as 350%, called Elena Shelehova, Head of OneTwoTrip Press Service.

“Searches conducted by the service’s customers on April 4 amid the news of the lifting of COVID restrictions on flights to certain countries have seen an increase in interest for virtually all destinations – from 5% to 350% compared to the average daily figures for the week of March 29-April 3,” Russia’s state news agency TASS quoted Shelehova as saying.

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

Other “exotic” destinations showed even larger numbers. Interest in Fiji, Zimbabwe, Jamaica and Madagascar increased by 220-290%.

When reported TASS lifted restrictions on 52 “friendly” countries that had not joined Western sanctions imposed in late February after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Thailand is one of the countries that are considered “Russian-friendly”.

Phuket officials welcomed The decision to share a WorkpointTODAY story touting how Thailand has maintained its “friendly” status with Russia and highlighting Phuket could soon see Russian tourists returning to the island.

“Russia is still not opening air routes to countries listed in the enemy nation that jointly announced sanctions against Russia,” the report said.

However, actual flights are still being suspended as Russian airlines, which mainly operate routes between Russia and Thailand, face heavy pressure from Western sanctions, including the termination of leases, which can lead to the confiscation of planes when landing in a foreign country.

The airlines also cannot buy spare parts or get maintenance services.

Limited connecting flights are operated by foreign operators, but these are costly due to diversions and high oil prices. Direct flights from THAI Airways International are currently unavailable.

Thailand has officially maintained its neutrality in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, in line with the ethical stance of most ASEAN countries. But the kingdom supports The United Nations resolution passed on March 2 calls for the withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine and deplores Russia’s “aggression against Ukraine”.

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

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