Western sanctions imposed on Russia after the invasion of Ukraine have changed the behavior of local tourists. They are giving up vacationing in Cyprus, Greece or the Adriatic, and choosing instead Turkey, Egypt and the Gulf countries, according to ForwardKeys, a travel trending company.
ForwardKeys ticket booking data shows 84 percent. an increase in the number of people who will come to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from Russia between June 1 and August 31, 2022, compared to the same period in 2019, i.e. before the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry portal Zawya reported.
When traveling to Turkey this increase is 96%, and in the case of Bahrain is even higher – 122 percent. Saudi Arabia can expect a modest 16% growth, and Egypt will adopt 30 percent. more Russian visitors than in the summer of 2019.
Sanctions against Russia
Sanctions imposed on the West include a ban on commercial flights from Russia, blocking Russian banks from accessing international payment systems, making it difficult for Russians to access cash abroad, and the seizure of some real estate and yachts owned by Russian oligarchs.
Sanctions do not prevent residents of this country from traveling on terms such as those in force before the war, as long as the person is not subject to the restrictions, so Russians can still apply for visas in many European Union countries. Direct flights from Russia to the EU or the United States are canceled, but this does not mean that the Russians cannot fly to Paris or London with a transfer in Istanbul, unless of course they have the appropriate visa.
The obstacles in the way of Russians traveling abroad are difficulties with card payments. The Russian Mir card system, competing in the Russian market with such giants as Mastercard and Visa, is supported in nine countries, including Turkey and Vietnam.
Also the Egyptian authorities, 15 percent of which. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is revenues from tourism, they intend to start accepting Mir cards, as announced by the president of the Egyptian Banking Organization (ECB) Tarek Rauf at the end of June this year.
Tourists from Russia and Ukraine usually accounted for around 40 percent. sunbathers in Egypt, reported the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism, quoted by the Al-Monitor portal. Nearly one million Russian tourists visited Egypt in the last four months of 2021, but hotel occupancy in Egypt’s Red Sea resorts has dropped by 35-40 percent, according to the Russian Tourism Agency. due wars in Ukraine.
Egypt, however, can count on taking over some of the Russian holidaymakers at the expense of, inter alia, Cyprus. As a result of the war in Ukraine, Cyprus is expected to lose around EUR 600 million this year. Almost 14 percent The country’s GDP comes from tourism, and Russians and Ukrainians accounted for a fifth of around 4 million visitors before the pandemic. Due to sanctions in 2022, the Russians can no longer take advantage of relatively short direct flights and therefore choose beaches in Egypt and Turkey.
Adriatic resorts in Croatia, Montenegro and Albania, and the economies of those countries that have joined international sanctions against Russia, are also hit hard by the absence of Russian tourists.
The Reuters agency reported that the sanctions “almost disappeared the ubiquitous Russian signs” on the Montenegrin coast, which in 2019 were visited by 380,000 people. Russians, accounting for 15 percent. all visitors. People employed in the country’s tourism industry, usually accounting for around 20 percent. GDP, they hope that some Russian tourists will come via Istanbul and Belgrade during the summer, as these airports are still open to flights from Russia.
There is also a perceived lack of Russian visitors in neighboring Croatia. In 2019, a total of 154,000 of them were added, and in March, April and the first half of May this year. around 4,500 arrived.
The richer Russian tourists can visit places such as Cuba, Indonesia, the Seychelles and the Maldives on a pre-war basis.
Main photo source: Konstantin Aksenov / Shutterstock