MOSCOW, February 27. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian tourists stopped booking tours to Kiev and Lviv over Ukraine’s political instability, the Russian Union of Travel Industry said on Thursday.
“The situation with selling tours to Ukraine is in stalemate. Guided tours to Kiev and Lviv have not been on sale for over a month. There is no demand for ski resorts in Bukovel and health resorts in Truskavets,” the source said.
“The main thing is that demand for vacations in Crimea that we registered just a week ago raises experts’ serious concerns,” the source said. “Until recently, tensions in Kiev affected only Ukraine’s guided tours and health resorts, but soon after protests engulfed the Crimea, bookings to that destination stopped completely as well, and some tours had even been cancelled.”
Tour operators say the sale of tours to Crimea, Ukraine’s peninsula on the northern coast of the Black Sea, has shrunk by 30% on the average year-on-year. Nevertheless, players of the tourism market do not rule out that as soon as the situation calms down, some of the lost demand will be restored.
The Russian Union of Travel Industry said despite the political situation in Ukraine, the local tourism business continues to prepare for the summer season. Kiev’s international exhibition center will host the Ukraine International Travel and Tourism exhibition UITT 2014 on March 26-28 as it has been planned before.
The exhibition’s chief, Irina Korshunenko, said soon after armed clashes ended in Ukraine’s capital, all partners and potential delegates received the invitation confirming the exhibition would take place. This year over 600 representatives of the tourist industry from 60 countries were expected to participate in UITT, but over riots several tourism offices, including those from Italy, Hungary and the Czech Republic, cancelled their visits to Kiev.