Ukraine Crisis: Russian Tourism Sector Has Now Collapsed

Photo: Aeroflot Boeing 777 Landing at Heathrow Airport. Photo Credit: Karam Sodhi/AviationSource
Photo: Aeroflot Boeing 777 Landing at Heathrow Airport. Photo Credit: Karam Sodhi/AviationSource

LONDON – It has been revealed that the Russian tourism sector has now collapsed as a result of sanctions caused by the ongoing Ukraine conflict.

Data from ForwardKeys shows that the issuance of outbound international air tickets from Russia stood at 42% of pre-pandemic levels.

However, in the week immediately after the invasion, the issuance dropped to a staggering 19%, with figures nowadays showing a figure of around 15%.

Timeline of Collapse Relates To Date of Sanctions…


The report from the analytics firm shows that the timeline of the collapse related to the date on which certain sanctions were put into effect:

  • 24th Feb: Air space in southern Russia was closed and Aeroflot was banned from flying to the UK
  • 25th Feb: Russia banned British airlines from its airspace
  • 27th Feb: The EU closed its airspace to Russian planes
  • 1st Mar: The US banned Russian flights from entering its airspace
  • 5th Mar: Russian airlines (Aeroflot, Ural Airlines, Azur Air and Nordwind Airlines, and others) suspended international flights
  • 25th Mar: Rosaviatsiya, Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency, extended a ban on flight operations at 11 airports in southern and central parts of Russia
  • 25th Mar: Vietnam Airlines suspended regular flights to Russia
  • 14th Apr: AirBaltic stopped flights to Russia – but will return to Ukraine ASAP

Olivier Ponti, the VP of Insights at ForwardKeys expanded more on the meaning behind this report:

“The war with Ukraine, and the consequent sanctions on flying, have effectively caused Russia’s outbound tourism market to dry up.”

“Those people who are still flying comprise a small, affluent niche, who are forced to holiday in Asia and the Middle East rather than in Europe, which is their favorite destination in normal times.”

There Are Still Resilient Destinations from Russia…


It is understood that the following five countries are going to be the most resilient in light of the collapse:

  • Sri Lanka
  • Maldives
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Turkey
  • United Arab Emirates

For the UAE & Turkey, in particular, the representation surrounds affluent Russians who are trying in premium cabins, especially as the capacity for these products has increased in the last three years.

This is of course understandable why Emirates is continuing flights into Russia, despite international condemnation.

CEO Tim Clark said that as long as the board doesn’t tell him to suspend operations, the airline will resume as normal in the country.

So, if anything, airlines out of those five countries as well as some Russian carriers will stand to benefit from opening up tourism links in those five countries.

Overall…


What remains clear is that Western sanctions are quite clearly working, as it is forcing the Russian travel sector to remove services and think outside of the box.

It does appear that the five countries listed will provide a lifeline to the sector, but more countries need to open up if there is any chance of a recovery on their end.

This, of course, means that the Russian government will have to throw subsidies at the travel and airline sector in Russia in order to keep them afloat, otherwise, the GDP in the sector will disappear completely.

About the author

James Field

James is a passionate AvGeek based in Manchester, U.K who has been actively spotting for years. James is the Editor-in-Chief for the company.

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