PHUKET: The Phuket Tourism Roadshow held in Moscow earlier this month attracted representatives of more than 80 travel agencies, the Phuket Tourism Association (PTA) reported.
The PTA said in a report released yesterday (August 16) that the roadshow, held on August 3, was hosted by the PTA and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Moscow office, and was sponsored by the Phuket Provincial Administrative Organization ( PPAO) support.
Thailand’s ambassador to Russia, Sasiwat Wongsinsawat, opened the roadshow and participated in the awards ceremony held as part of the event.
According to the report, at the event in Moscow, Russian media interviewed PTA Chairman Thaneth Tantipiriyakij, PTA Communications Vice Chairman and Executive Secretary Karn Aikwanich, and TAT Moscow Office Director Kanitha Phanworawat and conducted interviews and exchanged views.
The media is particularly interested in safety issues such as transportation, maritime safety and public health. The report added that PTA Chairman Mr. Thaneth briefed the Russian media on measures taken in cooperation with Phuket Province and PPAO to address these issues and ensure the safety of the province.
Also on August 3, a Phuket delegation led by PPAO Chairman Rewat Areerob Secretary Pongsura Kupongsakorn, as well as other local officials, and a Pattaya delegation met Vyacheslav Manuilov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Economy and International Relations with Moscow, Moscow Tourism Bureau International Head of the relations department, Bulat Nurmukhanov.
The Thai delegation visited the Situation Center in Moscow, which is the hub of all city data such as security systems, CCTV networks, traffic management and real-time utility systems (garbage, water, electricity). The purpose of the visit was to learn lessons for future upgrades of the Phuket data center.
After a visit to the city data center, a “round table” was held to discuss the promotion of tourism between the two countries, focusing on tourism trends and statistics, direct flights to Thailand and Phuket, and other favorable factors for tourism.
The Moscow government also invited the Phuket team to visit Zaryadye Park. In addition to being a public garden, the park is also an exhibition area, including a learning center, a cultural center and a tourist information center. The delegation was also invited to experience the “Moscow Virtual Tour”, which uses new shooting technology to showcase tourist attractions in and around Moscow.
Following the roadshow held in St. Petersburg on August 1, the roadshow event to Moscow was supported by 25 Phuket operators, including hotels, sea tour companies and tourist attractions on the island. A total of 65 representatives of Russian tourism companies from St. Petersburg attended the event, PTA reported.
Pontsura said he is confident that Russia will become the number one tourist source market for the next peak tourist season.
PTA pointed out in the report that so far this year, the Russian market ranks first in Phuket, with about 448,000 Russian tourists visiting Phuket from January to July, an increase of 110% compared to 2019.
“We believe that in the upcoming tourist season, Russian tourists will set new records and exceed previous years,” Mr Pontsura said.
“We expect to generate an economic value of approximately 61.6 billion baht. We are pleased to see the continued positive recovery in tourism and hope the people of Phuket are ready to be excellent hosts to our international guests.”
The PTA, again with the support of PPAO, held a tourism roadshow in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in late June with the aim of “strengthening tourism links and expanding Phuket’s international footprint”.
“The event taps into the huge market potential of Uzbekistan with a population of 36 million. The number of tourists from Uzbekistan to Thailand peaked in 2019 at 19,000,” the PTA noted.
In the first half of 2023, 16,000 Uzbeks visited Thailand, and 10,000 of them chose Phuket. The National Tourism Administration has set an ambitious target of 50,000 tourists to Uzbekistan this year.
Siripakorn Cheawsamoot, Deputy Director of International Marketing for Europe, Africa, Middle East and Americas, Tourism Authority of Thailand, provided valuable insight on the Soft Power of Thailand (SPOT) program. SPOT highlights five unique aspects of Thai culture: Food, Movies, Fashion, Fitness and Festivals.
The PTA noted that an important issue raised during the event was the extension of the visa on arrival (VOA) period and the possibility of visa waiver.
Mr Siripakorn clarified that while the decision rests with the new Cabinet (once formed), the TAT is working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to actively work on the e-visa process.
The PTA explained that the system will not only halve the visa fee to B1,000, but also speed up the application process.
However, as the TAT Moscow office explained, Russians traveling to Thailand can obtain a Visa on Arrival (VoA), allowing them to enter and stay in the country for 30 days without a visa.
PTA is focusing on the Russian-speaking market, recognizing its family-oriented travel trends and potential for travel during the June-August school holidays.
“With an average length of stay (LOS) between 14 and 21 nights, this market is expected to bring considerable benefits to Phuket’s tourism industry. There are currently no direct flights from Uzbekistan to Thailand, but PTA believes The roadshow could be the tipping point to change that,” the PTA said in an article late last month.
“This successful event underscores PTA’s continued commitment to enhancing Phuket’s appeal as a top global tourism destination. We encourage tourism stakeholders in Phuket to seize this opportunity and join us in making our beloved The islands have become the first choice for tourists from Uzbekistan and beyond,” said the PTA.