Aviation News 

Russian low-cost airline Pobeda will resume its domestic flights on June 1 after suspending all its flights in late March, the RBC news website reported

Flights to Turkey are now available for booking starting July 1st with the cost for one round trip ticket on Moscow – Antalya – Moscow route at 10,900 rubles (150 euro). For later period there are tickets to other destinations: Barcelona (Girona Airport) – starting in August. The first flights to Dubai (UAE) and Eilat (Israel) are available from October 1st at 240 euro.  

Kazakhstan’s major airlines resume flights to regional centers. The airlines do not restrict the use of the middle seat or require a COVID-19 negative test certificate. Air Astana, SCAT Airlines and Qazaq Air are resuming domestic scheduled flights on 12 May, from the Kazakh cities of Almaty and Nur-Sultan to regional centers across Kazakhstan, following the lifting of the Covid-19 pandemic-related national state of emergency. Three of the country’s larger airlines cautiously re-launched the central Asian country’s air transport industry on May 1 with flights on just one route, the nation’s key air link between the capital city of Nur-Sultan (previously Astana) and Almaty. Kazakhstan has been under a stringent quarantine regime for more than a month including the complete grounding of all domestic air travel since March 22 


Mass tourism segment: Almost 60% of Russian citizens are not going to take vacations this summer. Many of them will be looking for a job that they lost due to the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Such conclusions were reached by Otkritie Bank, which on May 11th and 12th conducted a survey of thousands of Russians aged from 18 to 60 with an average income of 30-60 thousand rubles (400 – 850 euro) per month in cities with a population of more than 100 thousand people. The study showed that only 41% of respondents are ready to take vacations this summer. Every fifth of them will remain at home, another 18% will go to the countryside. 22% would like to make a trip inside Russia, 14% of Russians plan a vacation abroad. 

Premium segment: 80 % of respondents of the recent survey conducted by NAFI and Forbes.ru stated that they will plan their trips as soon as the borders are open. Despite a genera fear of getting the virus at the airports or in the planes, the affluent consumers are less influenced by nCov threats, as they can fly by private jets and business aviation, escaping the crowds and mass contacts. However, most respondents expressed concern about travelling anywhere for a family vacation or with small kids.  

Travel Industry 

According to the Federal Tourism Agency, the pandemic and self-isolation left about 7 million workers in the Russian tourism industry, hospitality, and related industries unemployed. Such data was presented by the head of the Federal Tourism Agency Zarina Doguzova. According to her, before the coronavirus “forced stop”, Russia was one of the ten “most powerful” countries in the development of tourism. According to her, tourism accounted for up to 5% of employment in the country. “The tourism industry creates at least 2.5 million jobs, only 1.6 million people work in the hotel industry,” she said. At the same time, in the high summer season, the number of jobs traditionally increased by 1.5-2 times, the head of the Federal Tourism Agency noted. Let us remind that hotels usually began to recruit temporary personnel starting in March, even before the situation with self-isolation reached a large scale. As a result, we can talk about 7 million jobs, which employees are currently «on vacation and staying at home.» It should be noted that, according to the estimates of the Federal Tourism Agency, the “stagnation” of tourism industry has a detrimental effect on the country’s economy. Losses only due to the lack of inbound tourism are estimated at 300 billion rubles on a quarterly basis. 

Tour operator TUI Russia is selling package tours to Spain with a flight on regular flights with departures from 15 Russian cities. For travel agencies, all prices are available on the specialized website of the tour operator, and for tourists via OTA websites. Tours are available to Barcelona, resorts on the Costa Brava, as well as to Tenerife. But taking into account the fact that there is no certain date of opening of Spanish resorts for foreign tourists, as well as date of opening of Russian borders for departure and return, in order to avoid problems with the cancellations due to coronavirus, reservations are available only for the winter season 2020 – 2021. A list of 15 Russian cities where the sale of tours to Tenerife: Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Chelyabinsk, Nizhny Novgorod, Krasnodar, Samara, Kazan, Mineralnye Vody, Novosibirsk, Perm, Rostov-on-Don, Yekaterinburg, Ufa, Voronezh. 

Sales on the Tez Tour operator website are open for 2021 to such destinations as Turkey, Greece, Spain, Cyprus, Bulgaria. Soon it is planned to open sales of tours to Italy. At the same time, travelers can plan a trip not only at the prices of last year’s 2019 season, but also take advantage of early booking discounts, which reach from 20% to 50% depending on the destination. Also, to support agencies and tourists, TEZ TOUR introduces a flexible tour payment system. TEZ TOUR tours for the summer season 2021 are planned on regular and charter flights of domestic and foreign airlines from 18 cities of Russia. The list of hotels in the portfolio of the tour operator’s offer is gradually updated. 

ANEX Group President Neshet Kochkar shared his forecast for the launch of charter flights from Russia to Turkey. He also spoke about the possible pricing policy of airlines and the future of tour operators. According to the head of ANEX Group, the return of tourism will not happen overnight, but Turkey, unlike other competing countries such as Spain, Italy and France, is not going to lose its market share. Despite the assistance provided to airlines, Kochkar estimates that many airlines may go bankrupt. There will be less players, which will increase prices. 
Also, according to Kochkar, tour operators have proved their importance in a crisis, since they have conscientiously dealt with the problems of tourists that had to be returned from their overseas travel. According to ANEX Group, charter programs from Russia to Turkey may begin on August 1st, however, it is early to make any forecasts. As the Russian authorities try “to revive the domestic travel inside Russia first. However, the Anex Group President is confident that the season may be extended, and Russians will come to Turkey even for the winter vacations, “They will not care that there is no sea and sun. In winter there will be many charters and many tourists,” suggested Neshet Kochkar. 


Travel industry media reprinted several articles from the UK press and provided comments on the travel prospects for the European destinations in summer.  

Turkey plans to be available for foreign tourists in late July – August, this assessment was voiced by Minister of Tourism Mehmed Ersoy. According to him, the hotels will start working by the end of June. 

UAE plans to restart tourism in July, at least in Dubai. 

France – according to local experts, tourists will not be able to return to the country until 2021. This assessment was voiced by the president of Department of Tourism Committee, Sylvie Chevalier. 

Spain is expected to be open in June for domestic and in July-August for inbound tourism. However, the prognosis is different for various regions. According to media reports Canary Islands president, Angel Victor Torres, expects to receive foreign tourists starting in November. 

Italy – bars and cafes in the country plan to open from June 1st, and tourists from the Schengen territories only are expected by July. 

Greece counts on the return of tourists in June, said Greek Minister of Tourism Harry Theoharis. Hotels also plan to start opening in June but will only be available for local guests at the beginning. 

Cyprus expects to receive tourists again in June, first from EU countries, where are practically no new cases – such as Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. 

Bulgaria expects to open borders for tourists in July or August. 

Portugal is not expected to welcome tourists until 2021. Prior to this, the resort industry can only rely on domestic tourism, that will not be clearly enough. This was stated by Eliderico Viegas, head of the Algarve Hotel and Tourism Association. 

Montenegro may be open for foreign tourists n June, the National Tourism Organization (NTOCG) reported. 

Destination News 

Russia confirmed 9,974 new coronavirus infections Thursday, bringing the country’s official number of cases to 252,245. Russia now has the world’s second-highest number of coronavirus infections. The increase in the past day marks the first time since May 2 that Russia recorded fewer than 10,000 new cases per day. 

Early clinical trials of an antiviral drug in Russia have given “promising” results in treating the new coronavirus, a joint venture announced

President Vladimir Putin has eased Russia’s “non-working” period imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus even as Russia emerges as Europe’s new coronavirus hotspot. The exit from the partial lockdown will be gradual and not too fast, he added. «Starting from tomorrow, May 12, the joint non-working period for the whole country and for all the sectors of its economy ends,» Putin said during a televised speech on Monday.  
But the fight against the epidemic does not end. The danger persists, even in areas where the situation is relatively safe. The non-working period was announced in Russia in late March and has been extended several times since then. The conclusion of the ‘holiday’ period allows Russia’s regional authorities to begin lifting Covid-related restrictions. This process will not be fast, Putin said, and all anti-coronavirus precautionary measures will remain in place. Any mass gatherings will remain banned across the country as well. The mandatory self-isolation regime that has been in place for weeks across Russia will be prolonged for the elderly (65 years and older), as well as for individuals suffering from chronic diseases. 

Moscow and St. Pet. extended coronavirus lockdown until May 31 and will require its residents to wear face masks and gloves in public starting May 12.  

President of the Russian Tourist Industry Union (PCT) Andrey Ignatiev and President of the Russian Hotel Association (RGA) Gennady Lamshin, suggested that tourism within the country should be permitted from June 1, 2020, “at least between regions with a low incidence of Covid-19.”  In a special address sent to the Government they proposed that international tourism be resumed from July 1, but only accepting tourists from countries with fewer instances of coronavirus. As each country deals with its own outbreak, Russia would begin to accept tourists from more and more countries, with travel reaching pre-coronavirus levels by January 1, 2021. Russia’s tourist industry has taken a severe hit since the beginning of the epidemic. The government suspended almost all international air travel from March 27, and the subsequent lack of inbound traffic could be devastating for the tourism sector. In April, Rostourism explained that financial losses due to Covid-19 would be at least 300 billion rubles ($4 billion) a quarter. On May 7, Doguzova noted that tourism is one of Russia’s main economic drivers, emphasizing how a phased exit from quarantine measures would not only help the industry she represents, but many other sectors too. 

A third of the Russian economy has ground to a halt because of the coronavirus lockdown, the Russian government said Wednesday, as authorities continued to resist calls for bolder measures to support the economy, and unveiled a three-step plan to start easing virus restrictions. In a televised meeting of the Russian cabinet, ministers told President Vladimir Putin that Russia’s economic activity has fallen by 33% since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Every extra week of restrictions costs the Russian economy 1% of its annual GDP, Oxford Economics estimates. Meanwhile, a slump in spending and crash in oil prices saw government tax revenues fall 31% in April, federal tax service head Daniil Yegorov told Putin. Revenues from oil and gas exports collapsed by more than half. More than a third of retail businesses have been shuttered, Economy Minister Maxim Reshetnikov said, with income across the sector down 25%. A total of 735,000 people have registered as unemployed over the last two months as the official unemployment rate begins to creep up. Economists remain skeptical about the true number of job losses given the large size of Russia’s informal economy. Many, including Audit Chamber Head Alexei Kudrin, have predicted unemployment could hit 8 million this year. In a sign of the potential stress on Russian consumers, state revenues from personal income taxes — a proxy for official salaries — dropped by 14% in April. 

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