Thai businesses, officials try to help stranded Russian tourists
Thai officials and tourism-related business representatives have been trying to assist thousands of Russian tourists stranded in tourist towns such as Phuket, Koh Samui and Pattaya due to the international sanctions imposed on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Yuthasak Supasorn said yesterday (Monday) that the agency has been trying to coordinate with airlines to arrange for flights to Russia for tourists who want to go home and low-cost accommodation for stranded tourists.
He also said that the TAT has been discussing arrangements to use Union Pay as an alternative system, as Russian Visa, Mastercard and American Express credit cards have been suspended, or cryptocurrencies for payment for services.
As many as 8,000 Russian tourists are thought to be stranded in Thailand.
According to the Tourism Association of Koh Samui, there are now more than 2,000 Russian tourists, who has been holidaying on Samui, Tao and Pha Ngan islands before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and many of them are unable to get home due to lack of flights.
To help, the association’s president, Ratchaporn Poonsawat, said that the association has appealed to all member hotels to try to take care of the tourists by providing them with low-cost lodgings to ease their financial burden.
He said that there are some companies on Koh Samui that use the Union Pay service, which more usually caters to Chinese tourists, as he urged hotel operators who experience problems with Russian tourists’ payments to contact the association or the TAT office on Koh Samui.
He urged businesses on Koh Samui to make stranded Russian tourists feel that the island is their second home and to help them in the best way they can, so they will return when the situation returns to normal.