Dear Partners,

Despite an aggressive 3rd wave of the coronavirus, Russia continues to re-open and increase the flight frequency to many European destinations. Traditional summer destinations such as Bulgaria, Greece and Croatia have seen a large increase in flight frequency. Meanwhile most of the EU is still closed to Russians travelling for leisure purposes. We can detect a real East-West split in terms of the flexibility of destinations to recognize the Sputnik V vaccination. Most countries in South-Eastern Europe which depend on Russia tourist traffic recognized the vaccine, while the main-stream Western European countries such as Italy, France and Spain have not.

Meanwhile other non-European destinations are taking advantage of the gap in the market and trying to reestablish flight links for travel this summer and in preparation for the winter holiday period, notably the Egyptian resort, Sri Lanka and other Middle East destinations. Although huge challenges remain, the summer of 2021 is certainly looking more hopeful than in 2020, but due to the low amount of Russians who are vaccinated and the lack of political goodwill, it is impossible to predict when Europe will finally open for Russian travellers again.

Helene Lloyd

21 July 2021, Moscow

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