Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February, several sanctions and restrictions were imposed on Russia, including the banning of Russian aircraft by the EU from operating in its airspace. According to the data and analytics company GlobalData, Russia ranked fifth globally in terms of international departures in 2021 standing at 13.7 million. However, after the sanctions, the number of Russian tourists visiting European destinations is set to fall drastically this summer.
In 2021, almost 20 pc of all outbound and domestic trips in Russia had occurred in the months of June and July. Additionally, travellers from Russia had spent a total of USD 22.5 billion during the same year, which put it in the top 10 source markets globally for total outbound tourist expenditure.
“The start of summer usually marks an influx of Russian travellers to warm European sun and beach destinations. However, this will not be the case for many nations that usually welcome Russian tourists every year, which will not do their post-pandemic recovery timelines any favours,” says Ralph Hollister, Travel and Tourism Analyst at GlobalData.
In 2021, Italy and Cyprus were amongst the top five most popular destinations for Russians. However, this year, following the sanctions imposed on the nation, both the destinations will likely feel the economic pinch from the drop of its annual Russian visitors. Russian visitation had accounted for 6 pc of the total inbound trips within Cyprus’ top 10 inbound source markets for 2021 indicating that though the number was not overwhelming, Russia was still an important source market for Cyprus.
Also GlobalData’s Q3 2021 Consumer Survey has revealed that 61 pc of Russians stated that they usually undertake sun and beach trips meaning that there will be a very meagre, perhaps even no Russian tourists in Cyprus’ popular coastal areas, such as Limassol this year.
These figures have indicated Russia’s importance as an international source market for tourism, and one which will be sorely missed by many destinations that now do not have access to these travellers. Russian visitors’ spending power had helped in aiding the recovery of many international destinations when travel had started to revive last summer and Russian tourists were still ready to travel during the uncertain times of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Although only Italy and Cyprus have been mentioned, the near elimination of Russian tourists traveling to the EU this summer will impact tourism demand across Europe. As a result, post-pandemic recovery timelines for many destinations will be extended due to the loss of a major source market,” concludes Hollister.