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  • Writer's pictureStephan Busch

Russia without International Tourist

New Hermitage Museum exhibition

In the second year of the pandemic, Russia reopened the borders for many countries. It will take some time before tourism regains its pre-pandemic numbers. This of course has advantages and disadvantages, but Russia is better positioned than its European neighbors to deal with many of these problems.

Tourism magnets like St. Petersburg in particular feel the restrictions in tourism.

“Saint Petersburg welcomed almost 8.2 million tourists last year (2018), which is 700,000 more visitors than in the previous year, reports the Interfax news agency, citing the city government's press service.

“In 2018, 8.2 million people visited the city, including 3.9 million foreign and 4.3 million Russian tourists. The increase in the number of travelers in Saint Petersburg was 9.3 percent in 2018 compared to 2017, ”the report said.

Russia Beyond

Of course, the companies that are only focused on tourism were hit hardest. Tour companies but also restaurants and hotels that played an important role are almost 2 years without income or with very little because the domestic tourism could compensate a little. Cruise ships have completely vanished and it will take a long time for air traffic to return to the old numbers.

Due to the financial crisis and the sanctions, however, Russia is used to crises and can deal with them better. The sanctions have resulted in Russia producing much of what was previously imported. Large - above all European - companies have increasingly settled in Russia in recent years, which has led to more direct investments in Russia, thousands of jobs being lost in Europe and being created in Russia.

Russia has a lot to offer tourists and the crisis, which did not lead to an economy-destroying lockdown, can be dealt with much better.

So you can admire the tourist attractions a little quieter at the moment and will probably not have to share the city with millions of tourists again until next year.

"In terms of the countries of origin, the Chinese led by a large margin (1.3 million), followed by the Germans (451,467), the South Koreans (342,308) and the Americans (227,656).”

Europe will have a harder time because the consequences for tourism, the delayed bankruptcies, will only come to light. Europe is slowly opening up again, with Germany probably bringing the last and having done the most damage to itself. Where in Russia the government reacted but remained calm and calmed the situation down, the German government relies on fear and panic. This has seriously damaged tourism, gastronomy and the hotel industry. It is difficult to say which was the right path - but you can already see what caused the most damage.

Author: Stephan Busch, Academic Director at the State University for the Humanities Moscow RGGU, Faculty of Tourism & Hospitality and the Swiss International University earned his Master Certificate in Hospitality Management from Cornell University, USA. He has a diverse experience in launching operations, business development and service training- for hotel and cruise companies in Asia, Europe, Canada and Russia.,

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