This year the number of tourists that will visit Crimea will be two times less than last year

This year the number of tourists that will visit Crimea will be two times less than last year
Tourists don't rush to the Crimean beaches
Photo: PHL

Since January 1, around 1.5 mn tourists visited Crimea, including 300,000 Ukrainian citizens from the mainland, the republic’s Minister of Resorts and Tourism Olena Yurchenko said in an interview on the First Crimean TV Channel. This is not much. The same number of tourists visited the peninsula in July last year only.

The ministry did not respond to specific questions of Capital. “Unfortunately, we have a lunch break at the moment and I am only a janitor. We have lunch, just likely everybody else, until 2 pm,” was the response of the ministry’s reception office. Several hours later a journalist of Capital managed to reach Deputy Minister Olha Burova, but she advised turning to the press service for comments. The latter refused to give any.

Fewer vacationers

The rhetoric of the Ministry of Resorts and Tourism of Crimea changed very quickly. After annexation of the peninsula the local officials optimistically shared the plans of development of infrastructure and promised an increase in the tourist flow to 8 mn people. By the end of spring, the forecasts were not so rosy – the task was set to achieve last year’s level.

In an interview Yurchenko admitted that this year around 3 mn vacationers will visit Crimea. This is twice less than last year, when around 6 mn tourists visited local resorts.

The key problem that is holding back the development of tourism in Crimea is the absence of logistics. Head of the Analytical Service of the Aviaport agency Oleh Panteleyev says there is practically no alternative to air travel. “Travelling by land transport takes around two days one way,” he says.

The capacities of the ferry are also limited. According to the press service of the Single Transport Direction (responsible for ferry transport), 320,000 passengers were transported by sea in June. Panteleyev forecasts that in 2014 the Simferopol Airport will receive around 2 mn passengers. “Its maximum capacity is 2.5 mn travelers a year,” he said. However, not all passengers are tourists.

Oleksandr Liyev, former Minister of Resorts of Crimea, explains that last year Simferopol Airport serviced only around 1 mn people, of which only half came for a vacation. The rest were residents of Crimea.

It is practically impossible for Russian citizens to come to Crimea from the territory of Ukraine by railway. Under the law on occupied territories, citizens of other countries need a special permit for that. However, the procedure of issuing such permits has yet to be approved.

Tourists prefer health resorts

Owners of small hotels and apartments will not be able to earn money even from few tourists. Around 80% of all visitors prefer health spas and resorts, says Yurchenko. 20% choose apartments, mini hotels, etc. “Last year, we observed a reverse situation,” she notes.

Chairman of the Association of Small Hotels of Crimea Valentyna Marnopolska admits that at the moment the occupancy rate of mini-hotels is 30-40% depending on the area. “Last year, there were practically no vacancies,” he says. Co-owner of the local agency Real Estate of Crimea Ihor Zakharchenko agrees. He says the number of reservations for accommodation of vacationers dropped by 60% this summer compared with the same period last year. “Russian visitors only rent rooms with amenities; they don’t like small rooms with an old bedside table and a bed,” adds Director of the Crimean agency NTN Dmytro Mayorov.

No chance to earn a penny

The decline in the flow of tourists dashed the hopes of owners of Crimean property for high earnings from wealthy Russian tourists. Zakharchenko says the majority of apartment owners tried to raise prices by 20% after the annexation of Crimea. Now, many of them are forced to reduce them practically by 33%. For instance, in July last year a one-room apartment not far from the sea in Yalta and Alupka was available for UAH 450-480 per day, while today the price is UAH 300-350 (converted into hryvnia), he says.

In Alushta, the prices of one-room apartments already dropped from UAH 350 to UAH 300 per day. “At the beginning of the season, a room could be booked in Foros for UAH 500, while now it is available for UAH 300,” says Marnopolska. In order to attract vacationers for the autumn season, owners of apartments and mini-hotels will be again forced to reduce prices. Marnopolska predicts that prices of accommodation will fall by another 30-40%.

Comments (1)
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Али Маммедли 01 August 2014, 08:26

Я думаю вопрос времени, все связано с логистикой, паромы с потоком не справляются.Если сравнивать с Одессой то там тоже полный провал.