Good news, everybody
We could see an influx of Russian tourists this summer as Western sanctions imposed on Moscow prevent Russians from traveling to Europe, according to a report picked up by Zawya. The number of Russians arriving in Egypt between 1 June and 31 August will rise 30% from the same period in 2019, ticket bookings data collated by travel insights company ForwardKeys shows.
What they said: “From a tourism perspective, Turkey, the UAE and Egypt have benefited from the invasion of Ukraine as Russians are still welcome there, while other favorite destinations, having imposed sanctions, are effectively off-limits,” said VP of Insights at ForwardKeys Olivier Ponti.
The UAE + Turkey to see the biggest surge in tourists: Data shows that bookings to Turkey have climbed 96% since 2019 while the UAE stands to see a 84% increase in visitors during the three-month period. Across the region, bookings have doubled from 2019.
Both of these countries accept MIR: MIR — Russia’s answer to Mastercard and Visa — has become essential for Russians traveling overseas due to Western sanctions and the decisions by payment companies to suspend operations in Russia. This means that in most destinations Russians have no option but to use cash, but in countries that accept MIR like the UAE and Turkey allow them to make card payments and use ATMs. The service is beginning to be rolled out in the UAE while most hotels in Turkey now accept the cards.
The Russian press is really playing up that we want their tourists: Egypt is reportedly considering being MIR-friendly, the deputy head of Russian travel agency Tez Tour Egypt Tamer Said was recently quoted by Russian media as saying. Tourists could be able to use the cards by September, he reportedly told the Russian media.The finance and tourism ministries are reportedly discussing a plan to allow Russian companies to pay for hotels in RUB if they are unable to use USD, according to Russia’s TASS.
The war in Ukraine has hit Egyptian tourism: Occupancy rates in the Red Sea fell to 35-40% after the war broke out due to the loss of Ukrainian and Russian tourists. The two countries accounted for more than 30% of Egypt’s annual visitors prior to the conflict.
Egypt’s tourism revenues are expected to more than double in FY 2021-2022 from a year earlier, according to figures announced by Finance Minister Mohamed Maait last month. The Finance Ministry is projecting revenues to reach USD 10-12 bn in the current fiscal year, up from USD 4.9 bn a year earlier, Maait said.