Dear Partners,

The big news for the Russians is the sudden and unexpected closure of Turkey as a destination from April 15th until June 1st. This has put Greece, Croatia and Cyprus and other countries (that have already indicated that are open to receiving Russians this summer) at front of mind. The current closure of Turkey has resulted in up to half a million holiday cancellations for the May holiday period. Greece is very much the leader in terms of a structured reopening, but flight capacity has not yet been granted.

The impact of the closure of Turkish airlines to a skeleton timetable is affecting other destinations apart from Turkey. This is because Istanbul has been a major hub for Russians flying to other destinations, including increasingly popular destinations, such as Egypt, as there are currently only direct flights to Cairo and not the Red Sea resorts. As a result, there has been a sudden increase in the costs of flights to many popular summer destinations as there expected to be a shortage of airline tickets. This will probably make international travel the reserve of the wealthy, at least for the summer of 2021. 

In terms of trade marketing there has been a small increase in person-to-person activities, with the recent visit of the new Director of the Barcelona Tourism to Russia holding several private dinners for the agents in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The Maldives organized an ambitious roadshow to 4 cities in Russia and LTM will also take place in late April but with a greatly reduced international participation. Simultaneously, most destinations are still focusing on digital events to allow the private sector to stay in touch with the Russian market, as the safest way to do business, until more people are vaccinated.

Helene Lloyd

22 April 2021, Moscow

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