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International flights at Sheremetyevo Airport are expected to resume in July

The experts of Sheremetyevo International Airport reported that international flights from Russia will resume no earlier than July. According to the co-owner of Sheremetyevo Airport Aleksandr Ponomarenko, there are two scenarios in the forecast for this year. The first involves the resumption of international flights from July and the gradual recovery of passenger traffic until the end of this year. The less optimistic scenario suggests that the number of passengers will return to 2019 level no earlier than by mid-2021. In 2019, Sheremetyevo served almost 50 million passengers, on average - 4.161 million per month.

Tour operators advertise tours for summer 2021

Tour operators continue to stimulate demand, e.g. ANEX Tour, Coral Travel, Pegas Touristic and TUI Russia have already started selling tours for 2021 at an early-bird rate.

TUI Russia has announced early booking for package tours to all the offered destinations for the winter season 2020-2021. Early booking started from April 1 and will last until October 31, 2020. The promotion applies to the arrivals from October 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021, both for charter flights and for regular DGS and dynamic package flights.

ANEX Tour offers the tours for summer 2021. Prices are recalculated at the rates of 2020 contracts with discounts considering early booking promotion. Besides, Anex is actively developing tour packages around Russia and consider launching a domestic charter programme to the Altai region.

Russian tour operators try to stay optimistic

Despite a tough time for the travel industry, most of the tour operators stay optimistic and believe that the industry will gradually recover by June-July. In the regime of self-isolation, tour operators work from home and keep most of their staff (if not all) full-time or part-time. They are mainly working on cancellation and re-booking of the trips booked for April and May. Obviously, travel companies working with individual clients are more likely to reload quite fast after the pandemic expecting their tourist (most of them are loyal clients who rely on their agents) start to travel in July-August, while big tour operators dependent on charter programmes have already made more focus on autumn and winter season.

Pac Group does not refund money to the agents but move the reservations to September and October if the tourists agree to travel in autumn. If the agent wants to cancel the reservation, they provide the voucher equal to the cost of the initial reservation with the exchange rate fixed on the date of reservation. The voucher can be used as a payment document for the future bookings of any destinations, on any dates and for any clients (not necessary for the same clients).

Intourist informed that the tourists will be able to transfer the charter package tours to Antalya and Dalaman to later dates at the same price. Tours with the arrival date from April 1 to May 20 can be rebooked on any date after October 12. Tours starting from May 21 can be transferred without surcharge to any date considering the available tour operator’s flight programme. The initial parameters of the tour such as hotel, type of accommodation, type of room, number of nights, type of food should remain the same.

A la Carte Travel Club, a FIT luxury travel agency, reported the problems with the refund of airline tickets dated after April 30. As officially the quarantine is prolonged till April 30, the airline companies do not accept the cancelations of the flights starting from May 1. Being very optimistic about the recovery of the industry, last week A la Carte Travel Club announced a fam trip to Greece on May 13-18 expecting the situation to improve by mid-May.

UNEX Tours, specializing on exotic and luxury destinations, believe that this is the right moment to plan future marketing activities and generate ideas for business development. “It’s essential now to show to the clients that tourism has not died, the hotels are ready to host the guests as soon as flights open again. We believe that once quarantine is over, people will start to travel.”.

Panorama Assistance, specialising in France, emphasizes that in order to quickly revive the private industry, especially hotels, should react immediately and provide special rates for autumn and winter season. Such a practice is already applied at several hotels in Paris which provide up to 40% discount for autumn and wint

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