Thailand rejoices: Aeroflot resumes flights to Phuket

Thailand rejoices: Aeroflot resumes flights to Phuket

Thai tourism has received good news: from October 30, the Russian airline Aeroflot will begin operating daily flights from Moscow to Phuket. Air traffic, interrupted due to the alarming geopolitical situation in the world, will resume before the onset of cold weather in Russia – Russian tourists will have a chance to go to a tropical country for the winter. At the same time, Asian tourism is rubbing its hands in anticipation of profits from one of the most important sources of holidaymakers, Thai media reported.

Earlier this year, Aeroflot, along with other Russian airlines, fearing sanctions and aircraft arrests, canceled its international flights to many foreign destinations. In particular, flights between Russia and Phuket island in Thailand have been suspended since March. This has come as a blow to Thai tourism, as Russian travelers traditionally made up the bulk of Phuket's population before the coronavirus pandemic, with authorities hoping to see 1 million tourists from Russia in 2022. However, as of July 26, only 76,739 Russian holidaymakers have visited the kingdom this year, with most of them arriving during the first three months of the year, i.e. even before the EU imposed air sanctions against Russia.

According to the head of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), there is a strong demand for travelers coming to the tropical country, it's just a matter of getting there. “During negotiations with tour operators specializing in this market, we saw their confidence in the demand for Thailand. The only problem is the lack of connectivity. If Aeroflot is able to resume direct flights as planned, while other airlines may follow in the next few months, we can still expect an influx of tourists in the last quarter, ”the official was quoted as saying.

< p>Thai air carriers such as Thai Airways and Thai AirAsia X have sought to fill the void left by the suspension of flights by Russian airlines, although they have been unable to do so due to European sanctions. The snag was provided by insurance companies that refused to insure flights to and from the Russian Federation. In addition, maintenance, spare parts or any technical assistance would be impossible due to the sanctions.

The EU has now made an exception for the International Civil Aviation Organization, which will allow maintenance, repairs and other support services from 27 July. TAT is still processing an understanding of this new solution and how it could allow airlines to operate flights to and from Russia again.

The opportunity for Russians to return to Thailand and Phuket could be a welcome dry spell for the struggling tourism sector, which counted 3.12 million people arriving in Thailand from the beginning of this year to July 26. This is slightly below the average monthly arrivals before the pandemic. The Association of Travel Agents of Thailand said that only 10% of their 1,600 members have been able to resume their business and are planning a weekend meeting between more than 70 hotels in Phuket and 170 tour operators to try to boost the sector.

400 travel companies still have not made it to the light, as they are focused on the Chinese market, which, due to the spread of covid, has not been able to reach Thai resorts. The long absence of the Chinese and Russians has caused many companies to turn their attention to tourists from India, which brought more than 380,000 tourists this year, and Malaysia, which brought 322,000 travelers to Thailand. But with the resumption of Aeroflot flights, the tourism authorities of the kingdom still hope to attract as many Russian tourists as possible to the resort of Phuket in the second half of this year.

Reference: Phuket is a mountainous island with rainforest located in the Andaman Sea. Along the waters of the west coast of the island are beaches, many of which are on the list of the most popular in Thailand. Phuket is famous for its many high-end seaside resorts, spas and restaurants. The main resort town, Patong, is famous for its nightclubs, bars and discos.

Earlier, Turprom wrote that “Aeroflot launches direct flights to Thailand and the Maldives: schedule and prices announced.”

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