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Where will Russians travel in 2016?

  • Published by Ozgur Tore

vladimir putinRussian travelers need to find new travel destinations which are not banned and sanctions free. The European Union and US impose sanctions to Russia which cripples its economy – European travel is a luxury now for many Russian travelers. Just recently Russia bans to travel to Turkey. Flights are already banned to Egypt. Where will Russians travel in 2016?

The Turkish military shot the Russian Su-24 warplane close to the Syrian border on Tuesday after two warplanes entered into Turkey’s airspace and despite warnings one didn’t left the area and shot down.

Mehmet Fatih Ceylan, Turkish Ambassador to NATO said, “First and foremost I have to make it clear that this incident took place in our airspace. There were two planes, they were warned 10 times within 5 minutes, 10 times, not to enter into Turkish airspace but they did, and when they entered and violated our airspace, then they were engaged by our F16s that were on patrol duty there. One left our airspace, but the other remained in our airspace, then it was shot down in our airspace, and fell in the adjacent Syrian territory.”

Tensions are running high between Ankara and Moscow due to this incident which is followed by Russian President Putin’s threats with a warning of ‘significant consequences’. Russian Federal Agency for Tourism already issued a travel warning and recommend suspending sales of tour packages to Turkey. Many Russian tour operators halted their tours to Turkey, which is the most popular holiday destination of Russia.

Since Russia's annexation of Crimea in March 2014, the EU and USA have ratcheted up sanctions several times, tightening restrictions on major Russian state banks and corporations. They have blacklisted dozens of senior Russian officials, separatist commanders and Russian firms.

A senior European diplomat has suggested that western leaders meeting at the G20 summit in Turkey have agreed to extend sanctions imposed on Russia for its role in the Ukraine crisis for 6 months until July 2016.

Collapsing oil prices and Western sanctions on big banks and energy companies tipped Russia into a financial crisis. Russians are feeling the pain over a year now. Unemployment has begun to creep up from very low levels, and millions more have fallen into poverty.

On the travel side, Russian tourists like to visit European destinations in Spain, Italy and Greece; however the financial crisis and EU sanctions against Moscow have left some Russians with a sour taste in their mouths. They either stay at home or travel to cheaper destinations such as Turkey and Egypt. And now their favorite cheap holiday vacation spots in Turkey’s Aegean and Mediterranean coasts are under risk because of the recent ban by Russian government.

On the other hand, Egypt, another popular destination among Russian tourists, may suffer from terrorism since Russia suspended flights to Egypt following the Russian plane crash in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt. A total of 224 holiday makers were killed when the plane downed by a bomb. Militant group Isis claimed responsibility for the bombing. Following the crash tour operators rushed to evacuate tourists and suspended flights.

If the current problems will not resolve, then Russian will need new destinations to travel for their summer holiday. Morocco could be an ideal destination which seeks to attract 800,000 Russian tourists in 2020. If Russian tour operators and Moroccan travel professionals promote more for the Russian market, the country may reach their target before 2020.

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