Crimea: the number of Tourists has increased, but the success may be temporary

The number of tourists in Crimea has increased in 2016 by 21.2% due to the devaluation of the ruble, made the trip to Europe unaffordable for many Russians, as well as the closure of Turkey and Egypt for Russian tourists. However, traveling to Turkey has resumed, and the Russian travel Agency fixed a huge demand for travel to this country. Also in the near future is expected to resume flights to Egypt. In this regard, the Crimea may face a significant decrease in the number of tourists this year.

The tourist industry is the main sector of economy of Crimea. According to some, income to 70% of the residents in one way or another dependent on tourism, the fluctuations in the number of tourists directly affects the well-being of the Crimean people.

In 2016 in the Republic of Crimea (without Sevastopol) rested 5.6 million tourists, which is 21,2% more than in 2015, follows from the data of the Ministry of resorts and tourism of the Republic of Crimea. The end of 2015 (4.6 million people) was in turn 21% higher compared to 2014. Accurate statistics on Sevastopol no, but in November 2016, the city authorities said that by the end of the year Sevastopol will visit 350 thousand 900 thousand tourists and excursionists (those who have not lived in the city, but it was as a result of the tour).

Thus, the total number of tourists in Crimea last year could reach nearly 6 million people. Despite the fact that the number of tourists who visited the Peninsula in recent times has grown at a considerable pace, it approached the figures of 2012-2013, when the Crimea was under the control of Kiev, just now. In particular, the end of 2016 for the first time about equaled the figures for 2013 (5.9 million tourists), but has not lasted until the end of 2012 (6.1 million).

According to the Ministry, the bulk of tourists coming from Moscow and the Moscow region (21.5 percent), St.-Petersburg and Leningrad region (12.7 per cent) and closest to the Crimea, the Krasnodar territory (6.3%) and Rostov region (4.6 per cent).

The rise in popularity of Crimea among citizens of the Russian Federation was observed on the background of falling real incomes of Russians and the ruble devaluation two times against the dollar and the Euro. In these circumstances, the population is cheaper to rest in the Crimea, which, according to the Agency “Turstin” were the three most popular holiday destinations of Russian citizens in 2016.

In addition, the increase in the number of Russian tourists in the Crimea was connected with the decision of the Federal air transport Agency to stop the flights to Turkey and Egypt, rest in which is considered relatively inexpensive. The office has introduced these restrictions after the end of 2015 on the border with Turkey was the sale of Russian su-24, and in Egypt, crashed due to the explosion A321 passenger jet of the Russian airline “Kogalymavia”.

Prior to these sad events in Turkey and Egypt was hardly the most popular places of recreation for residents of Russia. As reported by EurasiaNet. org Agency Travelata. ru, tours to Russia (and controlled by Crimea), 2015 year accounted for about 10% of all purchased vouchers, while the share of Turkey accounted for 35% of tours, Egypt — 33%. In 2016 the situation has changed dramatically. Tours to Russia rose to 19%, while Turkey’s share dropped to 8%. Now (after the return of Turkey on the tourist market in the summer of 2016), according to the Agency, Turkey occupies a leading position on the market early booking (summer 2017). “This trend holds in the lead for two weeks, and its share is as high as 30%,” — said the Agency on March 3.

Slower growth of tourist flow in the Crimea can be seen now. According to the Ministry, in January-February 2017 in the Crimea rested 122,8 thousand tourists, which is higher than the same period last year only 2.3%.

The presence of the decline of reservation in hotels of Crimea has confirmed in conversation with EurasiaNet. org and Professor, Department of management and services, Institute of sectoral management, Ranepa Galina Dekhtyar. “…The impressions of Russians from traveling to the Crimea is very controversial in the assessment of how services and transport accessibility… [And because] the cost of holidays in Crimea is comparable to the rest of Turkey, the tourists have returned there [to Turkey],” said she.

Also recently there were reports about the possible imminent resumption of air links with Egypt, as well as a significant reduction of the cost of tours in this country that could further reduce the number of tourists in the Crimea.

Because of higher prices for tickets and hotel rooms several times during the peak tourist season and also due to the lack of hotel service, Crimea remains a lot of independent travelers coming by car and staying in the private sector. According to the Ministry, in 2016 and 42.5% of tourists arrived in the Crimea via the ferry, mostly by private cars, and 49.9 percent visited the Peninsula and chose to rent houses or flats from local residents.

For the rest half of the tourists in the Republic of Crimea 767 operate accommodation facilities (hotels, motels) with a capacity of 156 thousand jobs. In 2016, was opened 11 new hotels in the 618 guestrooms, according to the materials of the Ministry. In 2015-2016 the staff of the public “investment Centre and regional development” considered 252 applications from investors wishing to invest in the tourism sector, amounting to 209 billion rubles. In fact, however, was signed on 31 an agreement worth 17.4 billion, according to the Ministry.

In addition to hotels in Crimea developed the so-called guest house — a small building with 10-20 rooms. However, any investment in this area remain rare. As told by the owner of one of the guest houses in Sebastopol, asking not to be named, these sites host live from season to season, and free money for the development they have. And to borrow, according to him, expensive and dangerous, because the Central Bank has no plans to reduce the cost of loans from commercial banks, and the political and economic situation still does not inspire certainty about the future of Crimea.

The assessment of Galina Dekhtyar from Ranepa, for the organization of quality rest in hotels of Crimea will take another 5-7 years.

Head of the Centre for the resolution of social conflicts Oleg Ivanov also drew attention to the disparity of tourism infrastructure of Crimea requests Russian tourists. As he wrote in his peer review, published on the website of the Advisory Council at the head of the Republic of Crimea, due to the fact that Ukraine, the Peninsula was a “resort day” and “because of the geographical proximity and the large number of weekend days in the summer of Ukrainians went to the Peninsula to celebrate birthdays and weddings, just to swim and sunbathe at the weekend, fun and carefree to spend money.”

“[Therefore] the whole service in the Crimea [was] focused on short-term off-budget stay… [But now] the Crimea became the center of a long family holiday. Accordingly, the tourism infrastructure need to change in this way. Hotels should be comfortable for life, not just for the night, and the food in the restaurants have become more diverse,” — said Ivanov.