Abkhazia: unrest in May affects tourist flow

Vladimir Savelyev, 20.08.2014 12:42
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Travel season in Abkhazia is not exactly going without a hitch. There had been an upsize in early bookings, but political demonstrations led to decreased demand for the destination during the mid-season.

The y-o-y growth of the demand for the destination was 20-30% at Roza Vetrov and even more at Delfin – 40%.

“Based on this growth, we were hoping for record-high results for the season, but the political demonstrations at the end of May disrupted the sales. During mid-June we observed the 15% growth compared to the last year, which is continuing to this day. We consider it a good result,” said the company’s CEO Sergey Romashkin.

According to the CEO of Delfin, opposition demonstrations in Abkhazia were not the only factor that affected sales – another was the worsening of the global political situation due to the war in Ukraine.

The majority of the company's clients opt for Gagra and Pitsunda for their holidays. These resorts account for about 80% of Delfin's total tourist flow to Abkhazia. Romashkin believes that there are a number of reasons for their popularity: Gagra and Pitsunda are located the nearest to the border, there are no blocks of flats in these resort towns, hotels and health centers are far removed from the residential areas, beaches are wide and forests are close at hand.

Sukhumi is chosen by 10% of tourists, and the rest are distributed between Gudauta and other resorts.

Deputy Domestic Tourism Director for Roza Vetrov Yelena Savchenko told TRN that after the events in May the demand for holidays in the Republic dropped.

“We have not yet obtained precise data, but according to preliminary estimates, the sales volume is at the last year's level or 10% lower," she says.

According to Yelena Savchenko, their sales have also been affected by the bankruptcy of the company Roza Vetrov – Mir.

"Many do not notice the difference in the names and think that it is one and the same company," she said.

The Deputy Director of Roza Vetrov said that the most popular destinations among the company's clients were Gagra and Pitsunda.

On the border between Abkhazia and Russia there is a crossing point that conducts border control in accordance with the regular procedures. On some days high tourist traffic may cause queues to form: according to Romashkin, the maximum waiting time is 1.5 hours.

Also, Abkhazia's presidential candidate has proposed to abolish the border procedures, which he believes will increase the tourist flow from Russia to Abkhazia.

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