Tuesday, December 27, 2022

  Number of Foreign Tour Groups Visiting Russia Fell by More than 90 Percent since Start of Putin’s War

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Dec. 27 – Russian tour operators say that the number of foreign tourist groups coming to Russia has declined this year by more than 90 percent from 2021, a year that was depressed because of the pandemic, because of negative images of Russia arising from the conflict in Ukraine.

            Leaders of the Russian tourist industry say there are no prospects for recovery in 2023 and that their member companies are trying to stay afloat by focusing on domestic tourism, visits by people from former Soviet republics, and visits from Iran and, they hope, China, once the pandemic ends there (kommersant.ru/doc/5747995?tg).

            In 2019, there were 5.1 million foreign tourists to the Russian Federation. Last year the number fell to under 300,000. And now, the numbers are dramatically lower, although exactly how many is unclear because the Russian tour industry and government are now talking about tourist groups rather than individual tourists.

            But such a decline is a measure of just how isolated Russia has again become.

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