Crimea: growing number of tourists organize vacation by themselves

Vladimir Savelyev, 22.08.2014 11:01
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As at mid-August, two million tourists have visited Crimea, according to the peninsula's Resorts and Tourism Minister Yelena Yurchenko. However, Chairman of customer protection society Resorts Crimea Alexander Burdonov believes this figure to be false.

"This is obviously an exaggerated figure, the real one is 0.7–0.8 million tourists," he said.

This is a significant difference, which is why TRN's correspondent reached out to tour operators servicing Crimea to ask them about the sales.

CEO of Soiuz Kurort Yury Otrishko said that sales for Crimean health centers were going particularly well this season.

"Our sales have grown twofold compared to the last year," he said. "Standard grade health centers enjoy the biggest demand, chosen by 50% of our clients; 30% choose Comfort grade and the remaining 20% opt for Economy grade."

According to Otrishko, the Standard grade health resorts are in a pretty good state, since many of them have recently (1.5-2 years ago) been renovated.

“There are about two thousand health resorts in Russia that are registered in the classification system, and 800 of them are located in Crimea. About a hundred health centers are situated in the Alushta area, where the bulk of our clients go. As opposed to Yalta, Alushta has room for development, and the environmental situation on the resort is very good,” said the head of Soiuz Kurort.

According to the Manager of Crimea destination for Astravel Igor Velikiy, the sales have dropped 40-50% for the company.

Multitour has also reported a 45% decrease.

Delfin’s tourist flow fell 25%.

“The fact that tour operators’ tourist flow has dropped is not indicative of the overall decrease in demand for the destination,” says CEO of the company Sergey Romashkin. “This year there has been a rise in the number of individual tourists, who buy tickets and book accommodation by themselves. This is due to the fact that Crimea is now perceived as part of the homeland. Last year it was still part of Ukraine and was viewed as a foreign land, so many preferred to err on the side of caution and use travel companies’ services.”

According to the head of Delfin, this year the number of Russian tourists in Crimea may well reach last year’s results, which is, according to VCIOM (Russian Public Opinion Research Center), 2.3 million people.

Crimea’s authorities expect no fewer than four million tourists to visit the peninsula before the year-end. Last year, according to Crimea’s Resorts Ministry, the republic was visited by six million tourists, the majority of whom were Ukrainians. A number of experts believe this figure to be significantly exaggerated.

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