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9 Aug, 2020 15:18

Nearly 1.5 million tourists flock to Crimea after Russia eases coronavirus restrictions

Nearly 1.5 million tourists flock to Crimea after Russia eases coronavirus restrictions

Russia’s Crimea welcomed about 1.5 million tourists last month and expects to receive even more visitors in August amid the rush for post-lockdown seaside vacations.

According to Crimea’s regional governor, Sergey Aksyonov, 1.432 million people visited the peninsula in 30 days from July 1, when the region finally reopened its tourism sector after the coronavirus-related restrictions. Most tourists (over 60 percent) arrived by car or bus via the Crimean Bridge, around a third by plane, and around five percent by train.

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While Crimean hotels and accommodation facilities were occupied at around 80 percent last month, August is expected to be an even hotter tourist season for the region, local authorities predict.

“In August, we will have 1.8 million [tourists]. May be even more, given booking levels and traffic flows,” Crimea’s minister of resorts and tourism, Vadim Volchenko, said on Saturday. He added that both the number of bookings and traffic have increased, even compared to pre-pandemic times.

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In the past two years, Crimea’s tourism sector has flourished as the Black Sea peninsula enjoyed record numbers of visitors in the post-Soviet era. In 2018, 6.8 million people visited the region, and last year the number rose to 7.4 million. As the holiday season began this year with an almost three-month delay due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the republic expects the tourist flow to drop by around 10-15 percent from 2019 levels.

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