Thailand's Prime Minister will visit Russia on May 17-21, 2016, to strengthen ties between the two countries, as well as to sign additional G2G/B2B trade and investment agreements. This visit responds to the Russian Prime Minister's trip to Thailand in April 2015, when various cooperative agreements, including tourism, were made. However, Thailand-Russia trade relations are not yet large. In 2015, Thai total bilateral trade was recorded at THB79.8 billion; our exports to Russia alone were only THB24.1 billion, or 0.33 percent of Thailand's total outbound shipments.
When considering exports in terms of tourism, Russian travelers have a significant role here. Over the past year, tourism receipts from Russian tourists slowed, in line with a falling number of arrivals because Russia is facing a slowing economy; however, revenue from them was three times larger than Thailand's total exports to Russia.
Since the beginning of 2016, the number of arrivals from Russia has rebounded, partly due to tensions between Russia and Turkey that forced many Russians to change their holiday plans, plus the Russian government's decision to ban direct flights to and from Egypt. During 4M16, about 440,000 visitors from Russia came to Thailand, rising 15.3 percent YoY, which is better than the 52.8-percent contraction during 4M15. Travelers from Russia generated tourism receipts of THB36.31 billion, rising 19.7 percent YoY, second only to Chinese tourist arrivals.
Over the remainder of 2016, an uptrend can be expected on support from the Russian government having sanctioned Turkey and their ban on airlines from flying to Egypt. These factors will make Thailand a prime destination for Russian tour businesses and holidaymakers. Additionally, an effort to tighten relations between Thailand and Russia should promote better sentiment between us, especially for Thailand.
KResearch expects that there will be 1.1 million Russians visiting Thailand in 2016, growing 24.4 percent YoY, versus the 45.0-percent decline in 2015. However, the number of Russian tourist arrivals will still be lower than what was recorded in 2014, as the economy over there is still facing unstable growth. Furthermore, Russian tourists are expected to generate THB90 billion in tourism receipts, expanding 31.0 percent YoY versus the 39.2-percent contraction in 2015.
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