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The transport office and ministry for foreign relations have today unveiled a new scheme to encourage Russian tourists to visit Thailand. The pilot scheme that will be trialed in Koh Samui during April involves replacing many of the road signs currently in both Thai and English with signs that are in Thai and Russian. If the scheme is successful in encouraging Russian tourists to visit the island it will be extended to other popular tourist destinations such as Phuket, Pattaya and Hua Hin. So far there are no plans to extend the scheme to Bangkok.
The decision to replace English signs with Russian ones has met with mixed feelings from the locals. Russian Boris Beloglazw told our reporter through an interpreter “I think this is a great idea and it will be very good for visitors from Russia, many of whom do not speak English or Thai. Nearly everything is in English on this island and with more and more Russians coming here to live and for vacations every year I think this is a move that is long overdue”
Thai Khun Sittpan Sutthiport said “I think it is a good idea to help Russian people find their way around. Many of them do not speak Thai or English so when they get lost they can’t even ask for directions. We like Russians coming to Thailand because they spend a lot of money, the English people that come here and benefit from the signs don’t really spend anything.
Dennis Brewer from the UK told our reporters, “I think this a preposterous idea, I can understand there is a need to put some signs up in Russian but to take the English ones away is ridiculous. English is the international language. I think this will create havoc on the roads that are already dangerous. It’s bad enough as it is, the idea of a few Russians finding their way around and everybody else being lost it’s off the scale of crazy. I think this is one last nail in the Samui as a tourist destination coffin and the island will end up only attracting Russians” “there is even a Russian food outlet at the Central Festival Plaza!” he added.
In another surprising move the ministry for Russian tourism have asked that all company signs in Samui also be translated into Russian, as well displaying the company name in English and Thai and have invited all business owners on the island to add a Russian translation before it becomes mandatory mid next year.
Update 2nd April – Thank you to all of our readers, we hope you enjoyed our April fools joke.