Thailand is a favorite tourist hotspot for many Russians. Thailand is now seeking methods to help them pay their bills as International sanctions over Moscow’s military invasion of Ukraine become more stringent. The tourism industry is looking into cryptocurrency as a possible solution to the financial constraints that Russian citizens are currently facing.
Thailand’s Authorities are Contemplating Allowing Cryptocurrency from Russian Tourists
The Phuket Tourist Association (PTA) and the Bank of Thailand (BOT) are in discussions to identify alternate payment ways for Russian tourists visiting the country, including cryptocurrencies. The move comes after Visa and Mastercard announced that they would no longer support Russian-issued cards outside of Russia, adding to the pressure on Moscow to cease its military campaign in Ukraine.
The head of the Phuket Tourist Association, Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, has raised the potential of permitting Russian tourists to utilize cryptocurrency as an alternative if fiat payments are unable to be executed.
The PTA official also proposed that Thai businesses adopt the Russian card payment system Mir, which was created when Visa and Mastercard refused to work with some Russian banks amid the invasion of Crimea in 2014.
Tourism companies have been using the Chinese payment platform Unionpay, which also provides bank card services, to provide Russians in the nation with another way to pay their expenses.
Russian and Ukrainian Tourists are Stuck in Thai Resorts
Phuket, a district comprising approximately 30 islands off Thailand’s southern coast, is currently hosting up to 4,000 Russian Federation tourists. Phuket, the largest of them, is a popular vacation destination in Russia. Bhummikitti estimates that 300 to 400 Ukrainian visitors are now present.
According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, another 3,000 tourists from both countries are on vacation in Koh Samui, Krabi, and Pattaya (TAT). They have been stranded in Ukraine as a result of the ongoing conflict or have been unable to return home owing to cancelled flights.
After a number of countries restricted their airspace to Russian jets, Russia’s Aeroflot and S7 Airlines have cancelled flights to Phuket. The Thai government has cancelled a $60 visa extension fee for Russians and Ukrainians, while TAT and tour companies are considering alternative options to assist travellers.
Russia and Ukraine Conflict
On February 24, the Russian military crossed the border into Ukraine, igniting hostilities. Over a million Ukrainians sought refuge in neighbouring countries in the first week of the fighting, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR. Authorities in Kyiv and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have turned to cryptocurrency donations to fund defence efforts and tackle humanitarian issues.
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