NOVOSIBIRSK, February 4. /TASS/. Crimea received tourists from 132 countries in 2018, with most of them arriving from Germany, Chairman of the Crimean Parliament’s Tourism Committee Alexei Chernyak told TASS on Monday at the opening ceremony of the Novosibirsk regional tourism forum of the Intourist travel agency.
"Last year we achieved a record in the number of countries whose representatives visited Crimea. Those were 132 countries, that has never happened before. Those were tourists from all five continents," he said.
Chernyak added that a total of 7 million tourists - foreigners and Russians - visited Crimea. "It is clear that foreigners do not travel in organized groups as they used to. These are either individual tours or up to 15 people. Germany is second to none in the number of tourists who travelled to Crimea. This is the official statistics, as any foreigner must register upon arrival," he said.
The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula where most residents are ethnic Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of the authorities that came to power amid riots during the February 2014 coup in Ukraine.
Crimea and Sevastopol adopted declarations of independence on March 11, 2014. They held a referendum on March 16, 2014, in which 96.77% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification treaty on March 18, 2014.
Despite the convincing results of the referendum, a number of countries, primarily Western ones, refuse to recognize Crimea as part of Russia. Because of that, sanctions were imposed on companies operating in Crimea an their partners. Some countries caution their citizens against visiting the peninsula.