Russian tourists cancelling Thai bookings after credit cards suspended

MONDAY, MARCH 07, 2022

Hotels in the South report that Russian tourists are now cancelling reservations after their credit cards were suspended as part of economic sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine.

Visa, Mastercard and Swift have blocked use of Russian credit cards abroad, cutting off Russian travellers from their bank accounts.

“We are now implementing a cash-only policy for Russian tourists wishing to book a room to avoid any risks and problems,” said Athit Suphrompitak of Phi Phi Resort in Krabi province on Sunday. “Since Russia was removed from SWIFT, some Russian tourists have cancelled their reservations at our resort. Normally Russian tourists arrive around late March and stay from one to three weeks to enjoy the summer,” he added.

Meanwhile, Atthawich Supha, senior sales executive at Melia Hotel in Phuket, has said that the hotel has lost about 15 per cent of customers since the Russia-Ukraine war started.

“We are concerned that if the situation persists, prolonged economic sanctions will affect international transactions and damage Thailand’s tourism industry, which relies heavily on foreign income.”

Atthawich said his hotel has asked the Bank of Thailand to find alternative methods for Russian tourists to pay for hotel and other services in Thailand.

“We urge the government to find a solution to this problem as soon as possible. All we can do now is offer Russian customers free rescheduling of their reservations, but we still have no idea when the situation will improve.”

Russia was the top market for Thailand’s tourism sector during the Covid-19 crisis, with more than 63,000 arrivals between November 2020 and February 2022. Russian tourists spent an estimated Bt4.1 billion during that period.

However, Russian tourists have dropped from first to sixth in the rankings of international arrivals since March 1. The number of Russian travellers registering under the Test & Go scheme has dropped from 600-700 per day before the war started to around 300 per day this month.