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Leisure in Crimea ‘2014 – Reality or Utopia?

We offer to your attention a few articles that really reflect the situation with the tourism industry of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, annexed by the Russian Federation.


After entering the Russian troops to the Crimea, the demand for recreation in Crimea fell to virtually zero. Hotels “take off” 25% of the cost. Tourist season derailed, and no one knows how to restore it.

Tourism is one of the main items of revenue budget of Crimea, as it brings into the coffers of the peninsula 500 million UAH. Last year, this amounted to about 600 million UAH. 5.9 million people, of which only 1.5 million – the Russians  have visited Crimea in 2013. 70% of tourists in Crimea (more than 4 million visitors per year) Ukrainians. At the same time, 30% of the Crimean resorts total capacity providesby the Ukrainian Fund for Social Insurance, and labor unions.

But in 2014 self-proclaimed authorities of Crimea should not wait the same figures. After the introduction of Russian troops in the Crimea, the tourist season on the peninsula frustrated. As the head of the Hospitality Association of Crimea Elena Bazhenova, compared to the same period last year, on the peninsula significantly decreased the number of early bookings. “People are afraid to go,” – she said. According Bazhenova’s drop in sales began in late December. Now the situation is catastrophic.

During this period, it really feels like a drop in demand for holidays in the Crimea. “First of all, it affects the unstable social and political situation in the region. Moreover, a number of regulations and laws in the field of tourism, recently adopted, will play an important role in tourist arrivals in Ukraine in particular in the Crimea. We assume that it will be another deterrent growth in tourist traffic in Crimea “, – Elena Subbotina, CEO of tour operator IdrisKa Tour says.

No tourists

Delo.UA canvassing hotels and resorts of the Crimea, to learn about the situation on the ground . We all had the same answer: “You better call us after the referendum. But we do not have any military in the territory. All is quiet and peaceful.” In the sanatorium “Miskhor” noted that they now have about 150 guests (the total capacity is is 1100 beds). Sanatorium “Ai-Petri ” has only half of the tourists who booked tours 3-4 people refuse their booking daily,” – said in a sanatorium. According to situation, such low number of failures due to the high percentage of subsidized vouchers (from unions and social insurance) in low season.

But in the Crimean situation is much worse hotels – hotel occupancy dropped to the average for the month of March 55-60% to 10-25%. “The year started well, even with improved figures: junior suites and suites were booked for the summer in January, while last year at this time only standard rooms were booked. But once Russian troops entered to Crimea, within three days the Russians withdrew the entire reservation and canceled holding of several conferences,”- Olga Mishchenko, the General Manager of “More” SPA Hotel in Alushta said.

Situation with online booking also deteriorated. “Views of proposals of Crimean hotels decreased by 30% on our site, while sales dropped dramatically, they are practically zero. We see significant pent-up demand,” – Dmitry Skripchenko, Partner at Nezabarom said.

How to save the season?

Do tourists go to the Crimea in the summer? Is difficult to say, but that tourists from Ukraine will not go to the Crimea  is a real fact. Nobody wants to be a “fascist” and “banderovets” under the occupation of the peninsula by not brotherly Russia . “Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the European countries warn their citizens about the dangers of visiting Crimea. So Europe too there will not attend. But residents of Siberia and the Far East will do”, – Alexander Faynin , president of the Ukrainian Youth Tourist Association says. And adds that only in case of early withdrawal of Russian troops.

Former Minister of Resorts and Tourism of Crimea Alexander Liev (fired by separatists) believes that in 2014 the number of tourists visited a peninsula in the best case will fall by 30%. If the situation does not change for the better, the drop will be more than 50%. “Do not forget that the number of tourists is it’s emotional dependence at the decision point. Typically, tourists decide about holiday in May and June. And the summer season will depend the situation in these months in the Crimea,” – Liev says.

Tour operators say that over the past two weeks  they have received calls from tourists interested in staying in the Crimea, but book tours they are not solved. “All tourists are actively interesting for discounts,” – Lyudmila Prus, head of Ukraine and CIS Dept. of tour operator “Pan Ukraine” said. Association of Small Hotels of Crimea has even developed a crisis response plan for the tourism industry and offers visitors a 25% discount. As tour operators joke: “Of course, you can save a travel industry in Crimea… If there start to develop a military tourism”.

[By Olga Sorokaletova,]

…but in the meantime…


Breakaway Crimean authorities are going to nationalize more than 130 tourist sites. In particular, we are talking about the International Children Center “Artek”, 17 objects of “Ukrprofzdravniza” company (trade union organization), enterprize for the extraction of medicinal mud Saki deposit, Sechenov Institute in Yalta and 35 utilities of local councils.. This was reported in the Russian Union of Travel Industry, referring to the words of Elena Yurchenko, the illegitimate Minister of Resorts and Tourism of Crimea, wrote UNIAN citing ITAR-TASS.

The Russian Union of Travel Industry was informed that the State Property Fund of Crimea instructed as soon as possible to make an inventory and identify the owner of tourist facilities. All they will then be discussed by Russian and Crimean illegitimate government as potential investment areas.

[By Black Sea News]

…and as a result…


Crimeans not get visas to other countries. After the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice has blocked register of citizens, residents of the peninsula encountered several difficulties.

– I came across a hot offer for ticket to India with a good price. Without thinking we decided to go with a girl, – says photojournalist of Komsomolskaya Pravda in Ukraine Oleg Tereshchenko. – Departure was scheduled for March 21. Since visa to India need to issue 7 days we had only 2 days to have time to submit documents. In time. But the next day it became clear that the trip be postponed.

According to Oleg, he received a call from the tour operator and explained: it is opened a visa for the girl, but Oleg does not fly to India.

– I was told the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine closed the access to the registry of Crimean citizens, – continues Oleg. – Thus, a citizen of Ukraine Oleg Tereshchenko not currently exist. And then … Like, come ask.

A similar situation arose with a resident of Kyiv Dmitry Degtyarev. A man for five years working as a programmer in the capital, established in Yalta. Recently tried to get a visa in Dubai pass. It did not work. As explained in the embassy, diplomats can not verify the existence of such a citizen registries.

As for the travel agencies, the flow of tourists from the Crimea so low that operators often can not even check whether the limitations of the embassies.

– Honestly, since the end of February there is no any booking, – told us in the TUI agency in Simferopol. – People do not have to fly abroad, but  we did not get official papers for changes of visa rules.

In turn, the Ministry of Tourism unofficially confirmed: it is possible problems with traveling abroad for the Crimeans.

– Verification of the citizens through the registry is a way to protect embassies from unwanted tourists, – said in the ministry. – Passport is a just paper, which can be faked. Registry confirms evidence that such a person actually exists. At the moment, it is impossible to conduct such inspections.


– Registry is locked, – say at the press-service of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine. – Visas is a question of embassy. They have their own rules  for citizens validation. Once the registry is unlocked, the situation is normalized. However, the Ministry of Justice did not say when it will be happened. Like, everything will depend on the situation after the referendum.


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Alex Faynin

1. 23 years experience in travel, hospitality & IT business. Author of the concept of creation of Free Economic Zones - Inter Ports in Ukraine (1994), concept of the youth hostels in Ukraine creation (1999-2000) as well as concept of the national Eco lodges network (2010). Co-author of the concept for youth tourist infrastructure development in Ukraine for Euro 2012. Author of the project for the National Camping Network development (2012). 2. Working languages - English, Russian, Ukrainian. Hebrew is on the beggining level 3. Developer of IT technologies in travel sphere. Author of a number of tours in Ukraine and other countries. 4. Global consulting for foreign and locsl businessman, hotels, restaurants and land owners to start /develop a travel, hospitality or restaurant business in Ukraine, Israel and other countries. Specialties: - Competitive analysis - Business planning & development - IT-management & marketing - Startup management

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