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15 May, 2020 12:51

Grounded planes and empty beds: Russia’s tourist industry has lost at least 20 BILLION DOLLARS due to Covid-19

Grounded planes and empty beds: Russia’s tourist industry has lost at least 20 BILLION DOLLARS due to Covid-19

With international travel ground to a halt, it’s a pretty lousy time to be in the tourism business. According to Russia’s tourist agency, the country has so far lost more than 20 billion dollars due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter sent to the leaders of the country’s regions, Zarina Doguzova, who heads Russia’s Federal Tourist Agency (Rostourism), explained how “the decline in tourism turnover has reached 95-100 percent,” and the volume of lost revenues has already exceeded 1.5 trillion rubles ($20.3 billion). Doguzova also highlighted that among the businesses severest hit by Covid-19 are hotels, care homes and sanatoriums. In the worst-case scenario, up to 2.5 million people could lose their job in the tourist industry. In her letter, she asked Russia’s regional heads to allocate additional funds to support domestic tourism.

Also on rt.com Moscow bans all regular & charter flights starting March 27, except those bringing Russians home

As Russia relaxes its self-isolation rules and international borders remain closed, domestic travel may indeed get a much-needed boost. Speaking to Russian daily newspaper RBK, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov predicted that it would be quite some time before international freedom of movement returns to normal, if ever. “The full restoration of world relations will take a long time,” Lavrov said. He added that, in the opinion of experts, “even when all restrictions are lifted, and vaccines are approved, there will not be a completely free system of communication.”

On March 27, Russia banned passenger flights from abroad, excluding those repatriating Russian citizens. The decision completely upended the country’s aviation industry, knocking state-run airline Aeroflot off its top spot as most-used carrier. In April, for the first time ever, S7 Airlines became Russia’s most traveled-on airline, with Aeroflot having carried only 148,000 passengers – a decrease of 95.2 percent.

Also on rt.com ‘Europe needs a break’: EU may open borders closed by Covid-19 lockdowns for tourism as industry faces ‘grave danger’

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