Sanctions related to the Ukraine war have made it difficult for many Russians to travel abroad: Turkey is their No.1 Destination

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, it has been challenging for Russian tourists to go outside of their country. Russian airplanes are currently prohibited from flying across European airspace, and vice versa. Many tourists from Russia find it difficult or impossible to make lengthy and expensive excursions. Russians travel abroad


Additionally, Russian travelers must pay their bills overseas in cash because Russia is not a member of the Western credit card networks like Visa and Mastercard and the SWIFT international money transfer system, however, some nations do accept Russia’s domestic payment system, Mir. In any event, it has become considerably harder to pay for a holiday.

Fewer Russians take vacations abroad Russians travel abroad

Prospects are not looking good for Russian tourism abroad. Restricted flights and significantly higher prices have led to a sharp drop in Russian tourists. There were, for example, four times fewer tourists from Russia in Turkey in March, according to the Russian Union of Travel Agencies. This also applies to Russia’s luxury tourists: there were three times fewer five-star hotel and business-class tourists from Russia than last year in March and April.

Turkey was the most popular destination for Russian tourists in 2022, far ahead of any other country

Some 5.3 million Russians visited Turkey this year, according to Maya Lomidze, the executive director of Russia’s Association of Tour Operators.

Next on the list was the UAE with a significantly lower figure of 1 million, she said at a news conference in Moscow. Another 850,000 to 900,000 Russians traveled to Egypt this year, while some 410,000 went to Thailand, she added.

For the New Year’s holidays, about 3 million Russians will travel inside the country and about 600,000 plan to go abroad, according to Lomidze.

Trips to Turkey, Egypt, Thailand, and the UAE have been the most popular for the break, with much lower demand for tours to the Maldives and Sri Lanka, she said.

River cruises are in high demand Russians travel abroad

Russia is the largest country in the world in terms of area and offers plenty of geographic variety. River cruises are an especially popular vacation option at the moment, Anastasia Kisilyova of the St. Petersburg travel agency “Infoflot” tells DW. “We are observing a 40 to 50 percent increase in bookings for the next few months compared to last year,” Kisilyova says this year’s numbers are the highest they’ve been in 15 years. Additionally, 30 percent of all guests have booked a river cruise for the first time.

Cruises around the so-called “Golden Ring” are particularly popular. This tourist route leads through old Russian cities northeast of Moscow. Established between the 11th and 17th centuries, the settlements were the scene of significant events in Russia’s history and have many churches and monasteries that are popular to visit. Russians travel abroad

Few foreign tourists in Russia

Domestic tourism is booming, but few tourists from abroad are coming to Russia and tourism providers are feeling the effects of this. After the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, there were many cancellations, Marina Levchenko of Tari Tur travel agency told the Russian travel news site


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