The road show – to Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk and Irkutsk on Aug 5-9 – comprised members from the PTA, government tourism officials as well as the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Moscow office, headed by Anoma Wongyai, a Phuket native who previously served as Director of the Phuket TAT office.
The road show, like many such road shows conducted by the PTA, was funded by the Phuket Provincial Administration organisation (PPAO, or OrBorJor).
Ms Anoma pointed out that around 1.47 million Russian tourists traveled to Thailand last year, an increase of about 9% on 2017, and generated an estimated B150 billion revenue for the country as the second-highest revenue-earning source market after China.
However, she added, “Because of Russia’s economic situation and the depreciation of the ruble, the number of tourists in the first six months of 2019 decreased slightly, to 825,556, a decrease of about 3%.
“At the same time, we are paying much attention to potential target groups, such as Health Wellness groups, especially to those living in Siberian region, and Far East groups, who like to travel to for medical and health care in Thailand because it is quite convenient, within a six-hour flight,” Ms Anoma explained.
“Honeymoon and wedding groups are also being targeted because young Russians like to go to Thailand for their honeymoons. The luxury traveller group is another interesting group. Russians spend a lot in Thailand. They like luxurious accommodations and villas.
“Russian women travel more than men, and one segment that cannot be ignored is families, because Russians like to travel as families. Tourist attractions and hotels in Thailand should be ready to support family groups as well,” she added.
“Now, even though Russian tourists may choose to travel to places that are closer and cheaper, such as Turkey or European countries, in the winter, Thailand still remains the main country where Russian tourists like to visit.
“Samui and Khao Lak are both becoming more popular, and the TAT is trying to promote Andaman coastal provinces Trang, and Satun. East coastal provinces, Trat, Chanthaburi and Rayong are also gaining more interest,” she said.
“Phuket is well known among the people tourists and tour operators in all three cities, and we have never held a road show in Siberia before. We wanted to bring new travel products to tell the people in this part of Russia,” he said.
Russians coming to Phuket tend to stay quite long, for seven to 14 days, Mr Bhummikitti noted.
“Phuket grew out of sea sun sand tourism, but what we want to emphasise is cultural tourism. In this road show, we presented Phuket Old Town, its architecture, the traditional forms of dress and Baba wedding ceremonies.
Information flow went both ways, he added.