Survey: Do Russians Want Holidays in Crimea?

Alina Khorosheva, 28.04.2014 13:41
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Today, Crimea has found itself in the global and Russian media spotlight. Travel Russian News magazine keeps its finger on the pulse and delivers the latest news about peninsula’s tourism and the industry’s development prospects and nuances as it is ‘breaking in’ the new Russian region. In this regard, we have initiated a National poll, which was conducted by our partner Superjob.ru. We present to you the poll’s results. Will Russians go to Crimea after all?

The survey was carried out during the period from April 4 to April 14 of 2014 in 270 cities of Russia, in all the federal districts. Economically active Russian population over 18 years old was chosen as respondents. A total of 1,600 people were polled, hailing from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Tomsk, Saratov, Kemerovo, Chekhov, Tula, Krasnodar, Yekaterinburg, Khabarovsk, Sochi, and other cities of Russia.

The question was framed as follows: “Now that Crimea has been made a part of Russia, is it an attractive holiday destination for you?”

The votes showed the following results: 36% of the respondents answered ‘Definitely yes’, other 32% - ‘Probably yes’, 12% - ‘Probably not’, and 10% said ‘Definitely not’, with the last 10% giving no answer. Men’s and women’s votes split right down the middle for every answer, with the difference not exceeding 1-2%.

Thus, the people who will potentially want to go to Crimea or who are already planning to go there constitute more than 68% of those polled. That is some food for thought for the travel business…

Why ‘Not’?

It was also quite insightful to analyze the comments of Russians on the holidays in Crimea, both positive and negative.

Positive opinions about Crimea are pretty straightforward: people are attracted to wonderful climate, rich architectural and historical heritage of the peninsula, exceptionally beautiful views, and relatively low prices in comparison to the resorts of Krasnodar Krai. Also, Crimea’s joining Russia facilitates financial operations for Russians. Many Russians have friends and/or family who live in Crimea. Finally, Crimea is full of childhood memories and nostalgia for many Russians.

Crimea’s climate is on par with that of Spain or Greece,” says an accountant from Khabarovsk.

I had wanted to go there even before it became a part of Russia, and now it seems like a perfect time…” said a restaurant employee from Sochi.

A tester from St. Petersburg is also ‘pro’ Crimean holidays, but he thinks that “first, the issue of transportation needs to be resolved at the state level”.

A director from the Northern capital is sure that “Crimea’s infrastructure needs serious attention. The peninsula is in need of professionals who would realize its potential as a tourist destination.”

Almost each third respondent who gave a negative response believes that Crimea’s returning to Russia’s ‘bosom’ is going to cause a spike in the prices of travel services.

I visited Crimea in 2013, when it was still a part of Ukraine! Food and other amenities were so cheap they might as well have been free! And now the prices will be so high that it would probably be cheaper to go to Turkey,” asserts a driver from Murom.

A head of administration from Bratsk fears “terror attacks by Ukrainian nationalists”.

 “So what exactly are the changes for the better in Crimea? Does it now have the service on par with foreign resorts? No, it doesn’t. Everything remains the same, aside from the fact that money no longer travels abroad,” answers his own question an HR manager from Moscow.

Among the reasons for foregoing holidays in Crimea there is also the problem of transportation.

I wouldn’t advise using anything but a plane to get to Crimea, otherwise you may encounter some unpleasant surprises on the road,” says an accountant from Yekaterinburg.

No matter how you slice it, the trip from my city to Crimea is much more expensive than the Crimean holidays itself. That means that there is no point in spending money on the trip before they lower railroad tariffs or launch cheap flights. Right now, it is cheaper to spend a holiday abroad than in my own country…” said a director from Kurgan.

Meanwhile, in Crimea…

Analysts concur that in the coming 2-3 years the peninsula, which Russians have held so close to their hearts for so long, will significantly strengthen its position as a tourist destination thanks to federal financial, resource and personnel help.

As we have reported earlier, Crimean tour operators are already hard at work, having prepared various excursion programs for the coming May holidays.

According to the republic’s Resorts and Tourism Ministry, Sparta Crimea tour operator has devised a 5-day tour called ‘Around Crimea in Five Days’ (from May 1 to May 5). The trip includes a visit to Uspensky Cave Monastery, a walking tour along the Golitsyn Path in Novyi Svit, sparkling wine tasting, and also ascending Mount Ai-Petri on a cableway, visiting the Alupka and Livadia Palaces, park and palace complex ‘Dulber’, and wine cellars of Massandra winery. SNP-Crimea tour operator is offering horse tours in Crimea, and Nika-Tour will make gourmets happy with a food tour ‘Royal meal’.

Also, Crimea’s Resorts and Tourism Ministry is compiling a catalogue of tourism products of 2014, which will include tour operators’ offers and a list of tourist and accommodation facilities, as well as information on the cost of services.

This year, Crimean authorities expect about 8 million tourists to come to the peninsula, 6 million of them – from Russian regions. However, travel companies doubt the feasibility of such predictions. Well, only time will tell…

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