From April 15 to June 1, 2021, Russia will suspend the regular flights and charters to Turkey and the air traffic with Tanzania.
Suspension of flights
An exception in the situation with the suspension of the air traffic between the Russian Federation and Turkey will be two flights a week on the directions Moscow—Istanbul and Istanbul—Moscow. According to Interfax, there will also be flights organized to return Russian citizens to their homeland and trips for the participation of the concern Titan-2 in the Akkuyu nuclear power plant construction.
Tour operators of the Russian Federation were recommended to suspend the sale of trip vouchers to Turkey from April 15 to June 1, 2021. And tourists who bought vouchers with a departure before June 1 are advised to change direction or postpone the trip.
According to the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Tatyana Golikova, tourists who are in Turkey will be able to depart on the date specified in the voucher, and those who plan to fly to Turkey after June 1 will receive operational information about the situation.
In the period from April 15 to May 31, tours were purchased by more than 500,000 people. The total cost of booked tours to Turkey amounts to 32 billion rubles ($415 million).
"Many hotels will not see their guests. Airlines will lose their passengers. Matters are made worse because the restrictions have been introduced on the eve of the May holidays. During this period, Turkey is very popular with Russian tourists. For many hotels, it makes no sense to organize show programs, because today they will be hit by a flurry of cancellations of booked rooms that cannot be fully booked in 2.5 weeks left before the holidays," Alexander Frenkel from the travel company Argo Travel told avianews.
Is the coronavirus to blame?
The Russian authorities have suspended flights to Turkey and Tanzania due to COVID-19.
"The highest incidence rates are registered in the Republic of Turkey. And let me remind: if in Russia it was 45 cases per 100,000 of the population, then in Turkey this figure was 455 per 100,000 of the population per week," the head of Rospotrebnadzor (Russian Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing ) Anna Popova said.
According to her, the situation with the coronavirus spread in Turkey has been complicated since the beginning of March 2021, and "to date, the growth rate has not stopped."
In Tanzania, there is a risk of contracting not only coronavirus, but also malaria. In 2020, 11 cases of malaria were imported from Tanzania to Russia.
However, the People's Deputy of Ukraine of the 8th convocation Serhii Leshchenko wrote that this ban was "Vladimir Putin's response to the decision of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to let American ships through the Bosphorus into the Black Sea to contain Russia against Ukraine. "
"The irony of the situation is that the Russians themselves will lose from this," he writes in his Telegram channel.
Indeed, the Russian Federation warned Ankara and other capitals against "fueling Kyiv's militaristic sentiments." This statement came after the meeting of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as part of a High Level Strategic Council meeting between Turkey and Ukraine. The parties agreed to continue coordinating actions aimed at restoring the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Turkey reported that it is concerned about the development of the situation in Donbas and is ready to provide Ukraine with "any necessary support" to ease tensions in this region.
In response to this, the Press Secretary of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov said that the situation with the flights restriction was not related to politics, but was of an epidemiological nature and was related to a rather sharp outbreak of morbidity in Turkey.
What awaits Ukrainian tourism
"Now, except for Turkey, there is nowhere to fly. There are countries of the Adriatic coast—Albania, Croatia, and Montenegro, but there is no normal all inclusive system, and another category of tourists flies there. Therefore, Turkey will remain the optimal and main direction," she said.
The cost of tours to Turkey for Ukrainians may change.
"It could be dumping from those hotels that have opened and said they would work this season. They can lower the check, and if there are too few reservations, they can introduce special offers. The cost is unlikely to rise. Because even in 2020, when hotels began to open and were booked by only 50%, they said they would not raise the price per room," she adds.
The situation is unlikely to have a strong impact on Turkey itself.
According to Frenkel, due to the fact that some hotels will not open, Ukrainian tourists may be expected to move to alternative ones. To minimize losses, hotels can cut staff, service, and food costs.
"Because of this, tourists will not see the glamor of the past," he sums up.