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'Irkutsk has the sins, the false hair, and the perfume for which Paris is noted'
Mrs John Clarence Lee, 1914

Thailand tells Russian women: 'Come on holiday and lose weight'

By Will Stewart
01 May 2015

'Burn off your excess kilos in the sun' vacations are designed to woo back missing Siberian tourists.

The plan is to attract to Thailand 'especially those who like sport and those travelling with family members'. Picture: The Siberian Times

Thailand's tourism minister is promising fresh ideas to halt the decline in the number of Russian tourists to the kingdom.

One of these is 'tie-in weight loss programmes, which target female Russian travellers', say reports citing Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul. Her ministry's aim is to produce tourism itineraries 'that particularly respond to Russian tourists' demands'.

More details of the keep fit vacation plans are eagerly awaited. As well as the vacation fitness programmes, Thailand hopes to entice Russian travellers to destinations other than Pattaya and Bangkok - all part of plans to seek a 5% rise in tourists by next year, reversing the current decline. 

An innovative scheme from the Ministry of Culture in Thailand is for sister-city relationships with major urban centres in Russia.

The aim is 'to draw Russian tourists to visit smaller provinces or the 12 alternative destinations selected by the Tourism Authority of Thailand', reported the Thai News Service. 

'A Thai-Russian joint committee will soon be formed, which will be tasked with formulating marketing plans to entice more Russian travellers,' a reported added, citing the minister. The plan is to attract to Thailand 'especially those who like sport and those travelling with family members'. 

Siberians account for many of the one million or so Russian tourists venturing to Thailand, a figure that has dropped from 1.6 million in 2014 owing to the fall of the value of the rouble. This, in turn, was an 8% decrease on 2013.

The Thai plan to burn off Siberian weight could be timely. Equally, a recent survey by Rospotrebnadzor - the Russian Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing - found that people in many Siberian regions are above average in obesity. 

Thailand tells Russian women: 'Come on holiday and lose weight'
The recent survey found that people in many Siberian regions are above average in obesity. Picture: Vera Salnitskaya


For example, in the Krasnoyarsk region 76.9% of the adult population was found to be obese, as were 16.2% of children and 6.9% of teenagers. And the prevalence of obesity among teenagers in the Irkutsk region has almost trebled over the past seven years, and nearly doubled in adults and children.

Dr Anna Demidenko said: 'Siberia has never been rich with fruit and vegetables because of the climate. 

'And even if there was enough of them, it's not the right food for cold winters, especially if we are to talk about the territories in the extreme north of Siberia.

'Long story short, Siberia's food is meat, milk and carbs and at the same time extremely low amount of vitamins and microelements.'

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