Hotel bookings in Crimea: Foreign and Ukrainian tourists stay away but more Russians coming

Tourism industry in Crimea reports no significant decline in the number of hotel bookings. Tourists on the Crimean peninsula were traditionally most Russians while the Ukrainians themselves were in the minority. Other larger groups of foreigners came from China, Israel and the U.S. The sharp decline of Ukrainian and foreign tourists are according to players in the travel industry balanced by increased orders from Russian guests. However, it is unclear whether everyone will be able to visit it to Crimea because of difficult communications.

Some hotels in Sevastopol report more guests than in 2013, outside Sevastopol the figures are the same as last year or less. Many of the new Russian tourists are likely not only sun lovers but also patriots – and for those Sevastopol has a special importance.

A spokesman for the regional tourism organization complains that many would be unable to realize their plans due to poor transport links to the Peninsula Crimea. Sure enough, the number of flights from Russia has increased, yet the capacity is not sufficient. The ferries from the Russian mainland are completely overbooked and a trip through Ukraine is no longer possible. Previously the usual way of travelling to Crimea was to go by train, but that opportunity falls mostly away because the borders to Ukraine are closed.

A spokeswoman Hotel Association of Crime talking about a very unequal guests situation at the moment: “Hotels that have focused on tourists from the non-Russian-speaking countries are currently very empty, but others are having business as usual” .

Foreigners can in principle travel to Crimea but need now a Russian visa. The Ministries of Foreign Affairs in most European advises, however, not to travel to or stay on the Crimean peninsula. For example the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs warns on its website that “Russia (has) annexed the Crimean peninsula and (has) military control there. Entry and exit can be problematic because Russian authorities require visas from Norwegian citizens. If you travel to Crimea from Russia, you may have problems if you leave the Crimea by the Ukrainian mainland. Ukrainian authorities may consider that you have arrived in Ukraine illegally since you do not have Ukrainian entry stamp in your passport”.

Source: norge.russland.RU – Internetavisen