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6 Aug, 2021 08:48

Russia’s southern resorts see huge growth in domestic tourism as residents choose Sochi & Gelendzhik over PCR tests & quarantine

Russia’s southern resorts see huge growth in domestic tourism as residents choose Sochi & Gelendzhik over PCR tests & quarantine

While the majority of the world’s tourist resorts have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent restrictions, one area has thrived. In Russia’s south, Krasnodar Region has seen huge growth in tourist revenue.

According to Moscow business daily RBK, from May-June 2021, the region has seen an estimated growth of 34% compared to the pre-Covid summer of 2019, with revenues now reaching almost half a billion dollars.

Krasnodar Region is home to many of Russia’s most popular seaside resorts, including Anapa, Gelendzhik, and, most famously, Sochi. This year, holidaymakers have flocked to these Black Sea coast locations instead of foreign destinations, with many people put off by the inconvenience of international travel during a pandemic. Krasnodar Region has seen 6.1 million tourists arrive in the first half of 2021, 16% more than the same period in 2019.

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The rise in popularity of domestic travel has also seen prices shoot up. This June, the average cost for a room at a 4 or 5-star hotel along the Sochi coast reached 14,200 rubles a night ($195), an increase of 63% over June 2019.

However, despite the positive first six months of 2021, things may be on the way down for Krasnodar Region. Since August 1, hotels in the area are now forbidden from checking in tourists without a vaccination certificate. According to Maya Lomidze, the executive director of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia, the new requirement has led sales to drop by more than five times, causing some hotels to shut up shop.

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Inside Russia, it’s not just Krasnodar Region that has benefited from the Covid-19 international travel slowdown. In May this year, during the week-long extended holidays, half a million tourists visited Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula. Writing on social media, Sergey Aksyonov, the head of the Republic of Crimea, said that 520,000 people visited Crimea from April 29 to May 10 – up 72% from 2019.

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