Russian tour agencies still owe some $18 million to 125 Thai hotels
BANGKOK — The Thai Hotels Association (THA) will call on the government to have Moscow prod Russian tour firms into paying back the 625 million baht ($18million) they owe to 125 Thai hotels, a THA source said.
The source said on Monday that the association recently surveyed its members to see how many hotels had not been paid for rooms 60 days after the stay.
Upon checking, THA found that up to 125 hotels are still waiting for Russian tour operators to pay up. The outstanding amount for unpaid hotel rooms is 625 million baht, the source added.
Russian tour operators usually collect money from tourists in advance and drop them off in Thailand, mostly on chartered flights, the source said.
Since these operators are key clients of Thai hotels, they are given credit for many days, the source added.
However, many Russian operators skipped clearing their bills when the Covid pandemic broke out and used the money they got from tourists for other purposes, the source added.
Then the operators’ financial situation was further aggravated by the Russia-Ukraine war, so they have not been able to honour their debts yet, the source said.
Russian tour operators owe between 3 million and 5 million baht to each hotel, with some hotels waiting for debts of up to 10 million baht to be cleared, the source said.
Most of the 125 hotels are in Phuket’s Kata and Karon areas and the tour operators that have failed to pay up include huge tour agencies like Pegas Touristik, the source said.
The source added that the association will seek help from Tourism and Sports Minister Pipat Ratchakitprakan and Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai.
The two ministers will be asked to coordinate with the Russian government to get the tour operators to clear their debts, the source said.
Separately, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor Yutthasak Supasorn said foreign arrivals are expected to improve now that the government has eased travel restrictions since June 1.
Yutthasak said TAT expects some 500,000 tourists per month in the low season, though it reckons the number will more than double in the high season which runs from October to December.
He said Thailand has seen 444,000 arrivals from January to April, so TAT expects the number of foreign arrivals to be between 7 million and 10 million this year.
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