It’s the Motherland for Russian tourists as ruble hits historic low

Russian tourism has got a massive injection in the arm thanks to the fall in the value of the ruble.

St. Basil's Cathedral Red Square, Moscow, one of the many tourist attractions Russians are enjoying as they stay at home on their holidays this year

St. Basil's Cathedral
Red Square, Moscow, one of the many tourist attractions Russians are enjoying as they stay at home on their holidays this year.
Image by thisisbossi / CC BY 2.0

It means that Russians are choosing to stay at home and sample the wares of the Motherland because the expense of jetting elsewhere has risen through poor currency exchange rates.

The New York Times reports that since the ruble began its decline last year, even middle class Russians have accepted that foreign holidays are out of their reach – at least for this year.

Peterhof, St. Petersburg, Russia another site for local tourists to visit

Peterhof, St. Petersburg, Russia another site for local tourists to visit
Image by Jim G / CC BY 2.0

One woman had planned a trip through Europe but saw its cost rapidly increase to the extent that she pulled the plug. Business woman Olga Korovina, 53, was philosophical, claiming it would have been nice to see Paris, adding “but there’s no place like home.”

Although Russians aren’t known as travellers, since the toppling of the old Soviet Union, there has been a massive increase in citizens going abroad for their holidays. At first, it was the fact that they could go to countries as far flung as Thailand and Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia that led to the increasing annual outflow from Russia.

Package tours from Moscow and other big cities became a symbol of the newfound affluence.

However, coinciding with the ruble’s plunge in value is the new attitude among officials encouraging a new anti-West stance of not travelling abroad. This led to rank-and-file workers deciding to stay at home instead of annoying their bosses, particularly in state-owned companies.

The quasi-travel ban and the ruble’s slide to an historic low against major currencies including the Us dollar has, according to Maya Lomidze, executive director of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia, affected up to four million people, including families, from taking foreign vacations.

Every cloud has a silver lining though and the domestic tourism industry is reporting a 20% jump in activity in the early part of this year. Correspondingly, holiday sales to Greece are down by one-third and those to Thailand are about half what they were up to last year.

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