Russian Tourists Stranded in Thailand Due to Russia-Ukraine Conflict

Russian tourists stuck in Thailand

The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has left more than seven thousand Russian tourists stranded in Thailand.

Reuters reports that several hundred Ukrainians are likewise unable to return home.

Russian citizens cannot travel due to canceled flights and financial sanctions on Russia, while Ukrainians face airport closures.

Sanctions against Russia, including the suspension of operations by Visa and Mastercard, have meant tourists are unable to use their bank cards or complete bank transfers via the global SWIFT system.

Hotels in Thailand have been asked to accommodate stranded tourists with reduced rates and extended stays.

Half of the Russian tourists now in Thailand are on the island of Phuket, while most of the others remain in other popular tourist destinations like Pattaya.

Other groups are still en route to Thailand, according to reports.

One possible solution being considered is the arrangement of special repatriation flights to Moscow via Middle Eastern airlines. Another proposed solution is that businesses begin to accept cryptocurrency from stranded tourists in lieu of traditional payment.

As of late February, some 150,000 Russian tourists were abroad. Many of those travelers have been able to return home, but a significant number have been unable to do so.

In the Dominican Republic alone, there are some 14,000 Russians and 3,000 Ukrainians, and a reported 1,200 of those Ukrainians have had to resort to sleeping on the street.

In contrast, Egypt is offering its 20,000 Ukrainians free three-star accommodations and meals subsidized by a government tourism fund.

As countries around the world and in the region reopen to tourism following the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions, many traditional holiday destinations for Russians are concerned about a lack of tourists.

Laos had recently entered into talks with Russia to increase tourism ties in the future, including the establishment of an ASEAN Single Window Visa to allow Russian citizens to more easily visit Laos and other ASEAN countries.