Turkey and Egypt, the most popular destinations for Russians, could be replaced with Asian countries like Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Thailand and China since these countries have the necessary tourist infrastructure in place, Russia Beyond the Headlines (RBTH) reported on Wednesday.
The two of the most popular destinations for Russians last year were Turkey and Egypt.
However, after the October 31 bombing of a plane with Russian tourists over the Sinai Peninsula, Russia stopped air traffic with Egypt and evacuated all its tourists from the country. And then, when, Turkey downed the Russian Su-24 bomber carrying out a combat mission in Syria, Moscow imposed a ban on charter flights to Turkey, abolished the visa-free regime and recommended that tourists not to travel to that country.
The closing of two highly popular destinations has forced travel companies to urgently look for a replacement, and some of the main candidates are in Southeast Asia.
According to industry specialists surveyed by RBTH, Asian beaches are competitive when it comes to price and service, but it takes longer to fly to them from the European part of Russia, and they are not very well known to Russian tourists.
An air ticket from Moscow to Vietnam or southern China costs almost thrice as much as a ticket from the Russian capital to Turkey or Egypt. “The main expense for travel to Asia is airplane tickets,” Vladimir Kaganer, Chief Executive of Tez Tour, one of the largest Russian tour operators, told RBTH. “Air transportation from Moscow to Southeast Asian countries is expensive and takes a long time, not less than 8 hours.”
“Turkey and Egypt could be replaced by Vietnam, Thailand, China and Sri Lanka since these countries have the necessary tourist infrastructure in place,”Kaganer said.
“Hainan (a resort island in southern China) may be a quality alternative to Egypt, because it also provides beach recreation in the winter season,” says Svetlana Pyatikhatka, Executive Director of the World without Borders Tourist Association. “Moreover, in contrast to Egypt and Turkey, Hainan has no common borders with the regions that pose a terrorist threat.