Russian Sputnik vaccine a boon for Phuket tourism



  1. Thailand’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) just approved the Russian Sputnik vaccine.
  2. The outbound Russian market is the biggest one in the world outside of China.
  3. As Russians get ready to brave the fall and winter seasons, the approval of the Sputnik vaccine is perfect timing for the high season starting in November this year.

The traditional snowbird period from November to March is when temperatures drop severely in Russia and also in many parts of northern Europe, signaling travelers to take flight for the tropical chimes and clear blue skies of Phuket.

Today, tourism stakeholders in Phuket, Thailand, are heralding the landmark approval of the Sputnik vaccine by the Thailand’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) that is set to unleash the Russian market on the southern Thai island.

“This is great news for Phuket. It’s time to go beyond the Sandbox and build a foundation for a broader tourism initiative,” said Phuket Tourist Association President, Bhummikitti Ruktaengam. “The industry can now get back to basics and focus on the northern European winter season. This is a big opportunity for Phuket. These are our legacy markets.”

Laguna Phuket, an integrated destination in the popular Bangtao Beach area, consisting of 7 hotels; a Bangkok Hospital operated PCR test-center; and acres of open spaces, gardens and lagoons, has already been a beneficiary of the Phuket Sandbox given its safe haven reputation, but this is a major step up according to its Managing Director, Ravi Chandran.

“The acceptance of the Sputnik vaccine is a game-changer for Phuket,” he said. “The outbound Russian market is the biggest one in the world outside of China and the timing is perfect with the high season starting in November this year. Phuket Sandbox has proven to be a success and this will now take these achievements to greater heights still for all hotels, tourism stakeholders, and the local community on the island.”

Since July 1, over 300,000 hotel rooms have been booked up until the end of August by international visitors arriving via the Phuket Sandbox initiative, a number expected to rapidly rise as the high season approaches. Scheduled and chartered Russian carriers are expected to arrive in Phuket from October 2021.

Talking about “ready-made” market potential, C9 Hotelworks Managing Director, Bill Barnett, said “Coming into the 2021 winter wonderland and changing marketplace, the Russians, who typically have a 11-12-night average length of stay, are a perfect fit for the Sandbox.”

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