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Falling Russian currency will hurt Thai tourism industry

The depreciation of the Russian ruble will eventually affect Thai tourism industry, industry analysts cautions.

They recommended that the Tourism and Sports Department prepare for the consequence and come up with some precautionary measures to cope with the impact.

According to industry analysts of the Thai Military Bank, the falling value of the Russian ruble would have little impact on the country’s trade as Thai exports to Russia last year represented only 0.5 percent of total export value.

Instead Thai imports from Russia accounted for 1.4 percent of total import value.

However, they cautioned the tourism sector as Russian tourists sector since Russian tourists played an important role in the Thai economy.

They said the number of Russian tourists coming to Thailand rose from 90,000 in 2003 to 1.75 million in 2013. Last year, the revenue gained from Russian tourists alone made up as much as 10.1 percent of all revenue generated from tourism.

According to the analysts, the Russian currency has already fallen from 30 rubles per dollar early this year to 62 rubles per dollar at present. They cautioned that should the value of the ruble nosedive by more than 300 percent as in 1998 during which time Russia faced a severe economic crisis, the number of Russian holiday makers may shrink by 30 percent compared to the number this year.

The tourism sector may as a result lose 50 billion baht in revenue next year or about 0.5 percent of the country’s GDP.

They suggested that related agencies prepare measures to deal with the impact of the economic problem in Russia in case the situation worsened.

Other industry analyst said with the ruble crashing to record lows against the U.S. dollar and other currencies, Russians are cutting back on spending, including overseas travel.

The cutback is surely affecting beach resort city of Pattaya, on the east coast of the Gulf of Thailand.

Thai Hotel Association stated that the loss of the Russians, who are known as big spenders, has resulted in a 70 percent drop in hotel reservations from Russia during the upcoming high season, which runs from December 28 through January 15.

The Russians are second to none for the beach resort known for its licentious nightlife, particularly Pattaya where Russians are said to be number one.

Thai PBS

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