Russia was Thailand's third largest inbound tourism market during 2013 – after China and Malaysia – with a total of almost 2 million arrivals. Russian tourist spending represented the second largest of any foreign tourists after the Chinese, given over THB100 billion in spending.
Overall for 2014, Russian tourist arrival growth looks quite bleak due to the political strife that undermined our tourism during 1H14. During 2H14, despite an improved political setting here, problems in Russia, including their sluggish economy and sanctions imposed by the international community, will inevitably hurt their consumer sentiment and spending, thus the need to travel abroad.
However, given Thailand's advantage as one of the best value holiday destinations amid currently easing political tensions, relevant tourism agencies should seize this opportunity to introduce marketing activities along with online promotions (e.g., on airfares, package tours and accommodations, etc.) in Russia, because Russian consumers now tend to purchase tourism services online. This could help attract more Russian holidaymakers, especially high-end visitors, during the upcoming high season.
We at KResearch have assessed that the number of Russian tourist arrivals to Thailand will reach perhaps 1.65 million during 2014, down 5.5 percent YoY, versus the 32.7 percent growth reported in 2013. That should help generate some THB116 billion in tourism revenue, though down 5.3 percent YoY.