Tourists walk along Bangla Road near Patong Beach in Phuket, Thailand, just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic on January 15, 2020.
Thousands of Russian tourists are stranded in Thailand’s beach resorts because of the war in Ukraine, many unable to pay their bills or return home because of sanctions and canceled flights.
The crisis in Europe also put a crimp in recovery plans for the Southeast Asian nation’s tourism industry, which has hosted more visitors from Russia than any of its neighbors before the pandemic hit.
There are about 6,500 Russian tourists stuck in Phuket, Surat Thani, Krabi, and Pattaya, four provinces that are popular seaside resort destinations, in addition to 1,000 Ukrainians, Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, told The Associated Press on Friday.
Some 17,599 Russians accounted for the largest bloc of arrivals in February, representing 8.6 percent of a total…