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Declining ruble, political factors slow Russians' May holiday departures

April 30, 2014, 16:18 UTC+3 MOSCOW
It is no secret that a sizable part of Russians traditionally make a decision on the holiday practically ahead of the departure day, tour operator says
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© ITAR-TASS/Sergei Bobylev

MOSCOW, April 30. /ITAR-TASS/. The flow of Russian tourists planning vacations abroad during the May national holidays has slackened between 20% and 30% year-on-year, Russia's Tour Industry Union said on Wednesday.

A weaker ruble and the influence of foreign policy factors were the reasons, they said. The tendency took shape early in April. But by the end of the month, sales of tours had grown slightly as tourists bought late trips. “It is no secret that a sizable part of Russians traditionally make a decision on the holiday practically ahead of the departure day,” a representative from a major tour company said.

“These clients opt as a rule for visa-free destinations such as Turkey and Egypt. A growing demand for these resorts is exactly what we have been seeing over the past few days,” he added.

A source from another company said that “this year, April cannot be called a good month for sales. Tourists were literally dragging their feet on tours for May holidays, which explains a certain upsurge in booking at the end of the month.”

The tour industry union added that Russians preferred nearby sea resorts as destinations for the May holidays. Operators were reporting a demand for tours to Egypt, Turkey, Cyprus, Greece and Spain. Looking ahead to summer, most companies say they have booking applications until October but that a general decline in demand could be seen against last year's figures.

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