Dear Partners,

Russia’s ongoing conflict with Ukraine and the resulting economic sanctions imposed by Europe and the USA are already heavily impacting international travel from Russia. The 2 main issues are the lack of flight connectivity which is resulting in very expensive airline tickets. The costs are often too high for most middle-class families outside of Moscow. The second challenge is the management of payments, as Russian banks have been expelled from the international banking system of Swift and Mastercards and Visa cards no longer work outside of Russia. As a result Russians have to either take large sums of cash with them or purchase an all inclusive holiday. The lack of credit cards also means that travel can only be booked via a travel agency and all international OTAs are no longer valid for Russia.

In addition to these 2 key issues, the total size of the Russian outbound travel market is likely to decrease, as an estimated 250,000 or more people have left Russia, as an expression of their opposition to the war. Most of them have relocated to nearby countries such as Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan as well as Turkey and Israel. Many of the people that left were high-earners from the IT sector. This is likely to increase the outbound travel potential in countries which were previously considered to be rather minor outbound travel markets. They are likely to increase the overall income in the local economy, as well as improve flight connectivity due to an increase in demand.

To reflect the new situation in the market, TMI has expanded its monthly newsletter to include more information on the Caucasus, Kazakhstan and the Baltic States, as these countries are likely to increase in importance compared to Russia and Ukraine which were previously the two most important markets in the CIS region.

Helene Lloyd

26 April 2022, Moscow

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