Which holiday destinations will be hardest hit by sanctions against Russia?

By Linsey McNeill
Home » Which holiday destinations will be hardest hit by sanctions against Russia?

European holiday destinations stand to lose millions of Russian visitors this summer due to sanctions imposed on the country following its invasion of Ukraine.

In addition to an EU-wide, UK and North American ban on Russian flights, western companies are imposing other sanctions that are likely to prevent Russians from travelling overseas.

This includes aircraft and engine manufacturers ending maintenance contracts with Russia, jet leasing companies seizing their agreements and aircraft insurers pulling their policies. There’s also the question of how Russian pilots will refuel aircraft since Russian banks have been removed from the SWIFT international payment system.

How this will affect UK tourism

The UK, which was the first country to ban Russian planes, is set to lose up to 155,000 visitors from Russia over the next six months.

The UK banned all scheduled Russian airlines last Friday as part of a package of sanctions against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

Russia promptly retaliated by banning all UK airlines.

British Airways and Aeroflot, the only two airlines operating flights between the UK and Russia before the bans, expected to bring around 155,000 people from Russia over the next six months, according to data from Menorca-based tourism intelligence platform Mabrian Technologies.

But which tourism destinations will be most hit by the ban on Russian flights?

Turkey is by far the most heavily dependent on Russian holidaymakers of all the countries in the world, according to Mabrian’s data.

Nearly two million Russians are expected to visit Turkey over the next six months. Turkey, which is outside the EU, has not joined the bloc’s ban on Russian flights but if Russian planes are grounded, they will lose the majority if not all of this traffic.

The United Arab Emirates, including Dubai, are expecting more than 780,000 Russian visitors between now and August. Like Turkey, the UAE hasn’t banned Russian flights but budget airline flydubai has temporarily grounded its services to Russia. Also, Russian airlines are unlikely to be able to continue flying due to the reasons mentioned above.

Egypt is expecting more than 280,000 Russian visitors over the next six months.

Greece is the European country most likely to be hardest hit by the EU’s flight ban as more than 300,000 Russians were due to visit between now and August.

Cyprus is also one of the top 20 destinations most dependent on Russian holidaymakers, with airlines due to operate more than 230,000 seats between the two countries over the next six months.

Chart supplied by Mabrian

“A new instability puts Europe’s tourism recovery at risk when it seemed that we had overcome the crisis caused by COVID19,” said Mabrian Director of Sales and Marketing Carlos Cendra.

“Turkey and Greece are two important tourist destinations in southern Europe and, at the same time, are among the most dependent on the Russian market.

“It is possible that these, in the coming weeks, will have to increase their efforts to attract tourists from other markets, demonstrate greater competition and lower prices to counteract a possible decrease in tourism from Russia.” 

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