In light of the Ukrainian-Russian crisis, the United States and the European Union were quick to impose sanctions that would make it difficult for Russian oligarchs to travel to their respective countries. Consequently, many countries have seen a sharp drop in the number of Russian visitors.
But not all countries, in fact. In fact, according to a new report from SkiftRussians are still flocking to their favorite destinations, including Dubai and the Maldives.
“I wanted to leave Russia as soon as possible and Dubai was the best choice as flights to most destinations from Russia were cancelled. The destination gives a 90 day visa with almost no requirements. It was not difficult at all,” said a Russian software developer. Skift on condition of anonymity. “I had everything I needed, like Covid tests, but even those weren’t necessary. A free test has been made available directly at Dubai Airport. I will not live here. I just need a little time to decide where to go next.
Additionally, after seeing a number of yachts owned by Russian oligarchs in Barcelona, former CIA Operations Directorate officer Alex Finley started the hashtag #YachtWatch. “A number of them seem to be heading to the Maldives or the Seychelles or are already in the Arabian Sea near Dubai,” Finley said.
Of course, this is made possible by carriers like Emirates, Flydubai and Air Arabia which, despite the current climate, continue to serve major Russian cities – a business from which the tourism industries in places like the Maldives and Dubai stand to benefit.
“The inbound numbers from these destinations also tell a similar story. Russia continues to retain its top spot among the source markets for tourism in the Maldives with a market share of over 14% (as of March 13, 2022),” wrote Peden Doma Bhutia. “In Dubai, Russia became the third largest source market for the travel and tourism sector with 70,000 arrivals in January, up from 27,000 in January 2021.”
According to UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, 2.97 million people have left Ukraine since February 24 to March 15. There are currently no corresponding reports from the Maldives.
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