Chinese coronavirus epidemic can cost Russian tourism $455 million
China is the largest single source of tourists to Russia. In 2019, 1.5 million Chinese visitors traveled to Russian Federation. Now, with Russia closing its Far Eastern border and imposing restriction on all travel from China over coronavirus epidemic, Russian tourism industry is beginning to access potential financial losses.
Tourism experts at the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR) say that Russian tourism may lose 3 billion rubles ($47 million) over next sixty days.
And the situation that is already bad could get much worse. If Chinese tourists do not return to Russia by the start of summer high season, potential losses can mount to 31.2 billion rubles ($455 million).
Few weeks ago, China banned its citizens from going abroad in tour groups. And that is exactly how the vast majority of Chinese tourists visiting Russia travel, facilitated by a visa-free agreement.
Yesterday, Russian government announced a ‘temporary’ ban on most categories of Chinese citizens entering Russia. The ban goes in effect tomorrow, February 20.
According to ATOR, about 40,000 Chinese visitors came to Russia each month in January, February and March of 2019. It was expected that those numbers would rice by at least 10 percent in 2020.
“The average price of a tour (without plane tickets) for one Chinese tourist is about $500. In February alone, Russian tour operators lost at least 1.4 billion rubles,” Association of Tour Operators of Russia said.
“It’s clear that in March, Chinese tourists will not come to Russia either: bookings have been canceled. The revenue from receiving Chinese tourists in March will also come up to at least 1.4 billion rubles.”.
Two months of 1.4 billion rubles mean that the tourist industry will be down almost 3 billion by the end of March.