People, Travel

Despondency Visiting Russian Travel Industry

Despondency Visiting Russian Travel IndustryDespondency Visiting Russian Travel Industry

The tourism industry in Russia say losses from the ban on holidays to Turkey could be worse than those suffered as a result of losing Egypt as a destination.

The travel restriction was imposed a week ago after a Russian fighter jet was shot down on the Syrian-Turkish border.

Travel agents in Russia say it is difficult to find affordable alternative destinations for their customers, Euronews reported.

“No other destination can compare with Turkey pricewise. Greece is the cheapest destination in Europe”, said Larissa Akhanova, Director of Public Relations for Tez Tours. “But it still can’t compare with Turkey. It’s a big problem for tour operators since it’s extremely difficult to find a place like Turkey at a similar price.”

Nearly four million Russians visited Turkey last year, with all-inclusive packages costing as little as €460.

“It’s really sad because we like the people and the country itself,” said Aleksandra Gerasimova, a resident of Moscow who has been to Turkey with her family. “And now we’ll have to look for other options and that looks like a tough thing to do.”

The row over the shooting down of the Russian plane has resulted not just in a visa-free travel ban. Other sanctions include barring certain food imports and several joint business ventures.

It may all settle down eventually, but for now Turkey will have to look for visitors from other parts of the world.

A number of regional countries, including Iran, have stepped up efforts to take Turkey’s place for Russian tourists.

Iranian and Russian authorities agreed last month to set up what they call “tourism development offices” in the two countries to expand tourism ties.

A major selling point for Iran could be its affordability. In fact, according to a World Economic Forum report published earlier this year, the country is the most affordable holiday destination in the world.

The expanding political rift between Ankara and Moscow coupled with the growing relations between Tehran and the Kremlin has put Iran in a better position to lure Russian tourists, so long as the officials take prompt measures to ensure they are beaten to the punch by regional rivals.