Coronavirus May Cost Russia 80% of Chinese Tourist Inflow This Year

The coronavirus outbreak in China may have serious implications on Russia’s tourism industry, given that Chinese travelers account for 18% of the volume coming to Russia, Vedomosti writes citing data provided by the Russian Union of Travel Industry.

China earlier announced additional measures to combat the deadly virus, including a ban on package tours abroad.

If the coronavirus’ ability to spread gets stronger, Russia will have to change its strategy in order to attract tourists from new markets and fill up hotels and other tourist infrastructure, the paper quotes Sergei Shpilko, President of the Russian Union of Travel Industry, as saying.

January to March is the peak season for Chinese travelers visiting Russia, says Alexander Agamov, Executive Director of the World Without Borders tourism association, which fosters Russian-Chinese tourism.

About 130,000-150,000 Chinese tourists came to Russia in the first quarter of 2019, he said, adding that World Without Borders expected a slight increase in the number of Chinese tourists in the first quarter of 2020. “Of these, 70-80% may not come now,” he pointed out.

Companies specializing in welcoming Chinese tourists will be hit the hardest, according to Alexander Kurnosov, who heads the Academservice tourist agency. However, the market will compensate for that downturn, the expert explained .

A drop in demand for hotels and transport will bring down prices, and that will attract both guests from other countries and Russians, Kurnosov noted.

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