MOSCOW, July 21. /ITAR-TASS/. Demand for tours to Europe decreased significantly after the European Union had imposed sanctions on Russia, said Alla Manilova, Russian deputy culture minister in charge of tourism, adding that demand in some countries could fall as much as 30% by the end of the season.
“The sanctions regime has resulted in a decline of the nubmer of Russian citizens visiting Europe,” Manilova told the Rossiyskaya gazeta daily on Monday. “The scale will be defined by the end of the season. The decline can reach from 15 to 30% in some countries.”
“We are not talking about coastal tourism destinations,” she said. “We have no data on declining demand for such countries as Turkey and Greece. On the contrary, we can forecast that outbound tourism will even increase in some regions of southern Europe,” she added.
Official statistics record that in the first quarter of this year, the number of Russians travelling abroad has fallen year on year by 4% to 3.2 million.
These data were released by Russia’s Federal Agency for Tourism (Rostourism) in mid-June. Rostourism spokeswoman Irina Shchegolkova explained then that many Russians had switched to domestic tourism, preferring to visit Sochi on Russia’s Black Sea coast.
As in the previous year, Egypt and Thailand ranked first and second respectively among countries most popular with Russian tourists. The number of travellers to Egypt decreased by 6% to 542,000, while the number of visitors to Thailand, on the contrary, increased by 8% to 409,400.