The absence of Russians during the May holidays is a disaster for the European tourism sector, with experts predicting billions of dollars in losses.

European resorts watch the economic gloom as conflict in Ukraine has led to low tourist numbers from Russia.

The seaside resorts began to feel the pinch during the May holidays, which Russians spend “at home” and not somewhere abroad.

But European analysts say that the worst is yet to come. European tourists themselves will not be able to fill the void due to the rising cost of flights, tourist services, food and gasoline. Tourists in Germany and the United States are bracing for an unprecedented price shock for good reason. The sanctions imposed by the West against Russia have started to backfire.

What are the foreign media saying?

Nowadays, Russians cannot travel to European countries without spending substantial sums and experiencing difficult travel because on February 27, the EU completely closed Russia’s airspace and the Federal Transport Agency airline has limited flights over Russian territory to carriers from 36 countries, according to the Russian media Izvestia.

In addition, potential travelers from Russia are frightened by the situation in countries recognized by the Kremlin as “unfriendly”.

“I waited and hoped that at least in 2022 COVID would disappear and freedom of movement in the world would return,” said Roman Biryukov, owner of a large Moscow company. Russian TRT.

“But I think I will now voluntarily stay at home.”

A columnist in the British newspaper The Telegraph States that destinations that depend on Russian tourists “face enormous financial losses”, pointing out that the Czech Republic, Italy, France, as well as Montenegro, “which once attracted Russian tourists, including buyers of local luxury real estate, are already suffering the most.”

Hoteliers in Europe also fear a shortage of wealthy tourists. Businessmen from Tuscany in Italy and the Cote d’Azur in France have warned The Telegraph of the possibility of such a scenario.

Other European media have also confirmed that the absence of Russian tourists has already been noticed by real estate agencies and owners of facilities in Italy. The newspaper’s interlocutors, the owner of the company specializing in the housing market Scalea Nicola Rotondaro and the owner of the restaurant La Playa Salvatore mentioned that Russian tourists often came here for holidays and vacations, spending much more money than Italians and all other tourists.

“Usually there are a lot of Russians here. Now there aren’t any,” admitted Salvatore. “We are already at a standstill. Russians are not coming anymore, they have been banned from traveling,” Rotondaro confirmed, noting that all local businesses are largely dependent on tourists from the Russian Federation.

However, according to travel writers, the biggest casualties of the current situation will be Greek-administered Cyprus, as its tourism industry accounts for a quarter of the country’s economy.

To compensate for the lack of Russians, the country’s hotel association actively attracts vacationers from other countries, such as Great Britain, Germany and Israel. But most citizens of these states also don’t seem able to afford a vacation.

Destinations in Europe that depend on Russian tourists face huge financial losses. (AP)

How much is the estimated loss?

According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), which cited by the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR) on its website, the global tourism industry could lose more than 14 billion dollars due to the military operation in Ukraine, anti-Russian sanctions and counter-sanctions . But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Nikolay Vavilov, a Total Research strategist, Told Russian media that Russians spend more than 35 billion dollars a year on trips and vacations abroad, at least 60% of which in European countries. That may not be much compared to the Chinese, who were spending over $270 billion a year before the pandemic, but there is an important detail to consider. Both Russia and Ukraine were major “suppliers” of tourists to neighboring countries, including European “seaside destinations”. And during the pandemic, it was the Russians who kept the tourism sector of the Maldives, Seychelles and Sri Lanka alive.

In 2021, Italy earned more than 200 million euros from Russian tourists. This year, according to the hotel association Federalberghi, only Rome lose around 150 million euros due to the absence of the Russians. Obviously, these calculations are very approximate, because, for example, in 2019 Italy was visited by 1.7 million Russians, spending a total of almost one billion euros there.

More than 1.3 million Russians came to Spain in 2019, and their absence in 2022, according to forecasts by the country’s Institute of Tourism, promises a loss of 1.4 billion euros. Greece, which last year, despite the pandemic, welcomed around 120,000 Russian travellers, almost completely stopped booking for Russians today.

Cyprus, under Greek administration, risks losing up to 2.5% of its annual GDP if Russian tourists, whose share is estimated at 25-30%, do not return to the country by the end of the year. year, according to ATOR analysts. write.

Even exotic Cuba and the Dominican Republic are preparing to calculate the losses due to the shortage of Russian tourists. After all, if the UNWTO is to be believed, during the pandemic it was Russians who made up the bulk of vacationers (40%) on Liberty Island, and in the Dominican Republic they were just behind the Americans, and the consequences of the Russians Absence has already been described as “terrible”.

Source: World TRT