Hit by plummeting oil prices and economic sanctions imposed by the West, Russia’s currency turmoil is roiling the region’s tourism industry too
“The sunshine days are over,” said Kubilay Atac, general manager of Pegas Touristik Thailand. “Business will never be the same again, especially in Thailand.”
Russia’s political and economic crises, compounded by the recent collapse of the rouble, will rock the region’s tourism industry for the next two years, say travel business leaders.
The declining rouble, which in December 2014 fell below 74 against the US dollar from 44 the previous month, slashed the spending power of Russian travellers, playing a role in the collapse of more than 20 travel agencies in Russia and halving Russian arrivals to Thailand at the height of peak season.
“The sunshine days are over,” said Kubilay Atac, general manager of Pegas Touristik Thailand, one of the largest inbound operators in the market. “Business will never be the same again, especially in Thailand.
“I have been warning about the major Russian crisis for some time. I had expected the rouble to fall below 50 to the dollar in February. It was a big slap in the face when it happened in peak season, the one period we had to recover losses from last year (due to Thailand’s political crisis).”
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