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Losses of Russian tourism industry may reach $475.85 mln due to coronavirus

Such losses will occur if most of the tourist destinations do not open before September

MOSCOW, March 25. /TASS/. International tourism in Russia will receive 25 bln rubles ($321.52 mln) of losses, domestic - 12 bln rubles ($154.33 mln), if most of the tourist destinations do not open before September, Executive director of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR) Maya Lomidze said at a press conference on Wednesday.

"According to our estimates, international tourism will lose about 25 bln rubles, domestic tourism - about 12 bln rubles if the current situation persists," she said.

"In February we announced the total loss of 27 bln rubles, I said that this figure includes the total amount of cancelled tours sold up until September, as of mid-February. Since then, the dynamics of sales has not changed much, but 27 bln rubles is not a net loss, but the money that was paid to partners and did not return, and the money that all tourists could use for in all directions," she added.

According to Lomidze, the most effective decision for the industry from the package of measures proposed by the Russian government to support industries affected by the spread of coronavirus in Russia and the world, may be cancelling contributions to a reserve fund. By law, tour operators must pay 0.1% of the turnover for the previous year.

She added that the industry "would have been very much saved by the tax holidays at least until September." So far, only a deferral in basic taxes is being considered. "Delaying frankly does little, because over the next two months, profitability of companies will drop dramatically, and the tax rate does not change," she said.

In late December 2019, Chinese authorities notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus - named COVID-19 by the WHO - have been reported in more than 150 countries, including Russia.

On March 11, the WHO declared the outbreak a global pandemic. As of now, over 410,000 people have been infected around the world and more than 18,000 have died. Russia has identified 658 cases, 29 patients have recovered. The Russian government has launched an Internet hotline to keep the country’s people informed about the coronavirus situation.