Global tourism lost 7 billion USD because of the war in Russia

Russia’s war in Ukraine has not only left the Middle East facing food shortages, but has also had a major impact on the region’s tourism industry revenue.

The Middle East is currently one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world. Over the years, cities like Dubai, Cairo and Istanbul have regularly featured in the Top 10 global tourist hotspots list.

Global tourism lost 7 billion USD because of the war between Russia and Ukraine - Photo 1.
Russia attacked Ukraine, causing the revenue of the tourism industry in Egypt, Turkey and the UAE to suffer the most. (Photo: CNN)

But as the outbreak of war in Ukraine led to turmoil in food and energy markets, and with rapidly rising global inflation, tourism in several countries took a heavy toll. much more than the rest of the countries.

According to market research group Euromonitor International, the global tourism industry will lose $ 6.9 billion in 2022 due to a decline in the number of Russian and Ukrainian tourists. Of these, the Middle Eastern countries, which are favorite destinations for Russian citizens, and Ukraine will be the most affected.

Egypt, Turkey and more recently the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are the 3 most popular destinations for Russian and Ukrainian tourists. Immediately after the outbreak of hostilities between Russia and Ukraine, the tourism sector in Egypt and Turkey immediately recorded clear impacts. According to analysts, the impact will be more and more serious.

Before the Covid-19 epidemic appeared, the trips of Ukrainian citizens to Egypt increased by 49% in 2019 compared to a year earlier. This makes Ukraine the second largest source market for Egypt and second only to Germany.

Since Cairo resumed flights in July 2021 after removing restrictions to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic, Ukrainian citizens were the first tourists to return to Egypt. Egypt resort, according to Deputy Minister of Tourism Ghada Shalaby.

In 2021, Moscow also lifted a six-year ban related to chartered flights between Egypt and Russia after the 2015 air disaster. Since then, the number of Russian tourists to Egypt has increased. Egypt has increased rapidly. According to Sputnik, 700,000 Russian tourists visited Egypt in 2021 alone.

Amid the ongoing hostilities between Russia and Ukraine, the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism had to try to lure tourists from other countries to make up for lost revenue.

“It’s a big punch, but we’re trying to survive,” Deputy Secretary Shalaby told CNN.

According to Shalaby, Egypt is trying to maintain the number of Russian tourists to the country, and at the same time deploying promotional campaigns to attract citizens of Western Europe and Arab countries to travel.

But analysts say that Egypt can hardly make up the revenue gap caused by the decline in Russian and Ukrainian tourists.

“Finding a large source of alternative tourists for Russian and Ukrainian tourists is now certainly impossible,” said Timothy Kaldas, policy researcher at the Tahrir Middle East Policy Institute, adding that the problems come before The time of the outbreak of war in Ukraine also created many shocks for Egypt’s “pocket”. And the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war made the situation even more difficult for Egypt.

Previously, Turkey had expected to be able to revive the economy this year by reviving the tourism industry. But the Ukraine crisis and a series of sanctions levied on Russia are likely to make the total revenue of the Turkish tourism industry expected to be $34.5 billion this year.

At the Antalya resort on the Riviera, workers in the tourism industry are extremely worried about the rapidly decreasing number of tourists.

“Russia is currently the most important market for us. Ukraine plays the third or fourth role,” said Ulkay Atmaca, President of the Professional Hotel Management Association in Turkey.

Ms. Nihal Duruk, Sales and Marketing Manager of Premier Palace Hotel in Antalya, added, “We expect to lose 60-65% of revenue. Even if the solution is given, the revenue for the next tourist season this year will still be lost by 50%.

According to the Turkish Ministry of Tourism, more than 2 million Ukrainian tourists have visited Turkey in 2021. While this number is 4.7 million Russian tourists.

Bahattin Yucel, former Turkish Economy Minister, said that the economic crisis caused by Western sanctions against Russia will also affect Turkish citizens.

“The war and the economic crisis in Russia will both affect us,” Yucel stressed.

According to Arab Tourism Market (ATM) data, Russia becomes Dubai’s 2nd largest source market in 2021.

After the UAE began allowing Russian tourists to travel for 30 days visa-free in 2018, the number of Russian citizens traveling to the UAE spiked. According to The National, the number of Russian tourists to Dubai and Abu Dhabi increased by more than 60% in the first eight months of 2018.

Before the war in Ukraine broke out, ATM predicted that the Russian market could surpass 1 billion USD for the UAE in the next 4 years.

In fact, the war in Ukraine is also a thriving business opportunity for some businesses in the Middle East. In particular, many wealthy Russians are looking for “investment paradise” and pour money into buying real estate in Turkey or the UAE, according to Reuters. Currently, both Turkey and the UAE have preferential policies for foreign citizens to invest and own real estate.

But for the hotel sector, a quick recovery is a distant prospect.

“No matter how quickly the problem is resolved, we will still have to bear the impact of this crisis for at least three to four years,” Ms. Duruk said.

Minh Thu (synopsis)

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