Russian Tourism Group Threatens Thailand Boycott

(20 November) The Russian Union of Travel Industry (RUTI) has urged the Thai authorities to improve safety for Russian tourists in Thailand or face a boycott from its members.


The Union, which represents more than 5,000 business groups and state agencies related to tourism industry in Russia, has submitted the letter to the Moscow office of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), said Mr. Narin Tijayung, director of the TAT branch in Moscow.
The letter followed the road accident which injured more than 30 Russians in Pattaya on 15 November, four of them in serious condition. 51 Russian tourists were on their double-deck bus when it overturned on the highway, which the police believed was caused by the driver was dosing behind the wheel.
There have also been other cases of Russian tourists suffering from accidents or crimes in Thailand. Last month, 1 Russian tourist was killed and more than 30 other Russian passengers were injured when their tour bus flipped over in Kanchanaburi province.
Mr. Narin said the letter submitted by RUTI, which is addressed to the Thai Ministry of Tourism and Sports, called for a concise, practical measure to ensure safety for Russian tourists in the kingdom.
The letter specifically names road safety in Thailand as the main concern for the RUTI and its members, Mr. Narin added, such as the training of drivers, the condition of vehicles, and traffic regulations which have been lightly enforced.
The RUTI also reportedly demanded the Thai government to solve these issues within the end of November, otherwise it will consider responses necessary to maintain the safety of Russian citizens by canceling all scheduled charter flights from Russia throughout the period of December 2013 – March 2014.
If the cancellation indeed came to effect, other countries in the region, such as Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam would be picked as destinations instead of Thailand, the letter reportedly warned.

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