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Russian tourist decline hits Thailand's vacation mecca Pattaya

By Svetlana Skarbo
01 October 2015

The collapsing rouble sees slump in arrivals from 1.6 million to less than 1 million.

There is still a hope that tourism from Russia will prove more resilient by the end of the year. Picture: The Siberian Times

Pattaya has been especially popular with tourists from Siberia and the Russian Far East, but this seems to be on the wane. The key cause: the rouble has sunk 30% against the value the Thai baht.

This measure shows the decline in visits to a resort once called Tropical Siberia because of its popularity with Russians. And not long ago the Thailand tourism authorities were specifically targeting visitors from Siberia. 

'Charter flights will be promoted more aggressively to increase traffic, especially the routes from some parts of Russia such as Siberia,' reported the Thai News Service.

The impact of the decline in Russian visitors mean Pattaya is this year forecast to fine the year with nine million visitors, one million fewer than projected, and well below last year. 

From 2010 until the rouble depreciation, Russian tourists to Pattaya averaged annual increases of a stunning 45%, according to Suladda Sarutilavan, director of Tourism Authority of Thailand's Pattaya office.

Now Chinese tourists are stepping flooding in, and replacing Russians, say the Thais. 

Despite this, there is a hope that tourism from Russia - and especially Siberia and the Far East of the country - will prove more resilient by the end of the year. 

Such a hope was voiced by Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul  speaking recently at the Otdykh-Leisure show in Moscow.

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