The beginning of summer and the prospect of lifting quarantine restrictions made us think about vacation. For many it is traditionally associated with the trips abroad. However, the borders of Russia so far remain closed; departure is possible only on a business trip or for the purpose of treatment.
Where, how and how much can the Russians relax this summer?
For those who have lost their jobs during the period of the self-isolation there are no prospects left, except for relaxing in summer cottages. Whoever has neither a summer residence nor money, the only option remains - rest in their own apartment under air conditioning. Some social media users take a vacation philosophically.
“It's better at home, we also have seas, lakes, rivers, pools, water in hoses at the dachas”, - users write.
Others still dream of foreign tours.
“I don’t understand at all why our people, as one man, should go to our south. What is the problem? It’s necessary to go to rest where this infection has long ceased to exist: Greece, Bulgaria, etc. From my personal experience I may say that there have always been a lot of people in our south without any pandemic, and during the season there’s no space for an apple to fall”, - notes Lyudmila Lantsova (Maximova).
"NI" took an interest in the prospects of foreign vacations with the executive director of ATOR - Association of Russian Tour Operators - Maya Lomidze . “Air communication with foreign countries is gradually opening, from July 15 - with the CIS countries, from August 1, this list will be supplemented by other countries. But for now, judging by the statements of the authorities, only Russian citizens will be able to fly out for the purpose of study, work, treatment, for family reasons. The situation is changing all the time, therefore, it may soon become clear where our tourists can fly abroad”, - explained Maya Lomidze.
As for the opening of the beach season in Russia, according to the head of the State Duma committee on physical education, sports, tourism and youth affairs Mikhail Degtyarev, “most of the beaches in Russia can open from July 1, 2020.” But the information is constantly updated. “Most of the beaches of Crimea they can earn money by June 17, "said Elena Lysenkova , head of the tourism projects security and tourism security department of the Tourism Agency, as part of the Know Our exhibition. However, then the representative of the Tourism Agency carefully added:" We will see how we can launch even more beaches until July 1, when the mass flow begins at sea. ”It is not out of place to note that Rospotrebnadzor has not yet issued official recommendations regarding the operation of beaches against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Against the background of this information, a real sensation appeared in social networks. Travel blogger Sergei Anashkevich, who visited the beaches of Crimea, “blew up” social networks with photos of the crowded beaches of the peninsula. According to him, there literally "there is no place to fall an apple", and there is no question of observing any social distances. About wearing masks - even more so.
“Formally, in Crimea there is still a high-readiness regime, the holiday season is not officially open, the beaches are closed for visiting, people must observe the mask regime and social distance ,” writes Sergei Anashkevich. - I decided to check how things really are in Sevastopol and went to one of the main local beaches - Victory Park. What I saw struck me! No, it didn’t even amaze. I was stunned by what I saw! The beach is not just “a lot of people”, it is packed almost to the eyeballs! Honestly, at any other time this would not surprise anyone: well, it’s clogged and clogged, after all, summer, sea, sun. But after June 15, restrictive measures still remain in the Crimea and Sevastopol, and the beaches are closed to the public. There are even special signs about this. True, no one pays any attention to them. It is interesting that the bulk of visitors to the beach are with children. This is clearly not a visiting vacationer, but the locals of the district adjacent to the Victory Park, tired of self-isolation. By the way, the mask regime in Sevastopol is still in effect, and in places of mass crowding, wearing masks is mandatory".
NI contacted Sergei Anashkevich, a native of Crimea, to clarify details. Moreover, the media are full of eerie stories of tourists who ventured to visit Crimea and got a week-long observation without amenities, and at their own expense.
“Only from July 1, Crimea will be ready to freely accept tourists. At the same time, those who want to relax on the peninsula must pass a coronavirus test two days before departure, in Sevastopol - 5 days in advance, and also provide a certificate of lack of contact with probable patients with COVID-19. So far, tourists have been placed in the observatory for 14 days. The conditions there are really so-so. In case of violation of the quarantine, a fine is 2,500 rubles per day. But I repeat: officially the opening of the season in the Crimea is from July 1”, - the travel blogger Sergey Anashkevich, who was in Crimea, told NI.
As we were explained in the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR), each region has the right to introduce its own observation regime. In order not to "get" on the money and in general in an unpleasant situation, you must consult in advance. “Before you go to a particular city, district, you need to find out all the information on the website of the region or municipality. There, as a rule, information about all the requirements is laid out, including those related to the observation period and whether it occurs at the expense of the vacationer”б - said Mayor Lomidze, ATOR Executive Director.
But much more important for many people is the question of how much the vouchers will cost in the current tourist season and whether they can afford surviving self-isolation and losing Russians wages? Earlier in the official media there was information that the cost of vacation in the resorts of Russia could grow by 30%, and the tourism industry of the country would recover no earlier than 2022. This was stated, in particular, by the vice-president of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR) Alexander Kurnosov, commenting on the results of the meeting of Mikhail Mishustin with deputy prime ministers. Indeed, the COVID-19 epidemic has caused serious damage to Russian tourism. For several months, the turnover drop in this sector ranged from 95 to 100%, and the lost revenue, according to the Federal Tourism Agency, reached 1.5 trillion rubles. A total of more than 7 million people risk losing their jobs. How will this affect prices for vacationers?
In an interview with NI, the executive director of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia, Maya Lomidze, denied information about the increase in the cost of holidays in Russian resorts by 30%: “According to our analytical service, which conducted surveys among accommodation facilities, prices will remain at the level of last year. It also considers the possibility that if demand is low, prices may even fall. Everyone understands that the cost of rest, which has always been very important for our tourists, this year is acquiring a very special significance. And if the prices are higher than last year, then very many simply can not afford to buy a tour. According to preliminary estimates, the cost of accommodation in June this year in the Krasnodar Territory or in the Stavropol Territory at an accommodation facility of approximately three stars will be from 2.5 to 3.5-4 thousand rubles per day per person”, - said Maya Lomidze. - We do not think that demand will exceed supply. Judging by the data for June, there are several times fewer applications than last year, ”said the executive director of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia".
However, if we consider the rest, for example, in Sochi, then the popular Hotel Zhemchuzhina (“four stars plus”) offers all-inclusive accommodation from 9,900 rubles per person per night. The four-star Bridge Rezort, located on the first line, estimates accommodation on an all-inclusive basis in the amount of RUB 6,500. per day per person. But, of course, if you do not indulge in luxury and choose, for example, a three-star hotel a 15-minute walk from the pebble beach, then the daily accommodation of two adults with a child for 9 nights will cost about 47 thousand rubles.
The popular Volga direction also gives a wide range of prices: for example, accommodation in the famous Volga-Volga hotel on the river bank, in a double room, with breakfast included in the room, will cost 5,300 rubles per person per day. Agree, prices exceed the usual offers of hotels in Turkey and even Spain. Of course, you can stay in Samara in an ordinary hotel without air conditioning and pay only 13 thousand rubles for 9 nights of family vacations. In general, it all depends on the needs of the vacationer and on the demand for rest in a particular direction. ATOR experts believe that it is too early to give an accurate forecast. Thus, the Association of Russian Tour Operators draws attention to the fact that up to 25% of Krasnodar hotels may not open this season. However, if these facilities still want to "fit" into the season, they will be forced to dump in order to quickly attract customers. “It is possible to ensure load growth at a lower price, so dumping from a number of facilities is possible,” ATOR experts say.
Many are concerned about the issue of canceling tours that are paid in advance. It is no secret that in the winter, when the epidemiological situation was not so dramatic and no one spoke out loud about the pandemic, some tourists, accustomed to planning their holidays in advance, paid for summer tours to Europe. This made it possible to save. But the borders were closed and the situation is still unknown. The Association of Russian Tour Operators assured us that this issue is now being resolved at the highest level.
“As for compensation for paid tours, it is expected that by-laws will be adopted in the near future that will solve this problem. In particular, the extension of tours not implemented due to anti-epidemic measures to 18 months is provided. We are awaiting the adoption of other bylaws that regulate the return of money for services not rendered. The standard rules of the law on tourism in the current unprecedented situation no longer work”, - said Maya Lomidze, executive director of the Association of Russian Tour Operators.
The situation with children's camps remains complicated and incomprehensible. As we learned from sources in Rospotrebnadzor, this problem is under discussion. So far, different opinions are being heard. Some advocate that this year the children rest with their families, while others, on the contrary, talk about the need for a full collective rest for children, who, due to distance learning, have long been deprived of communication with their peers. “One way or another, most likely the camps will be forced to reduce the number of children: it will be necessary to maintain social distance and take a number of anti-epidemic measures”, - Maya Lomidze said.
When discussing the issue of summer vacations, an important question remained behind the scenes, on which the health of tourists largely depends. Thus, experts at the Gamalei Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology expressed the opinion that infection with a new type of coronavirus could very well occur through water. “This is possible if a person with COVID-19 draws water in his mouth and spits it out - then the infection can accidentally enter the body of another swimmer. Because of this, doctors recommend not to go into the pond in a crowd. “Coronavirus is transmitted by airborne droplets. Accordingly, if an infected person draws water in his mouth, and then spits it out, then this water can enter the body of someone else. How much coronavirus is stored in water will depend on its temperature and how the sun shines. But it will last a few minutes”, - explained the virologist at the Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology. Gamalei Victor Larichev.
NI was asked to comment on this information at the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation. The press service of the Ministry of Health could not give a definite answer to this question. “The possibility of transmitting coronavirus through water has not yet been explored. The epidemic began in the winter, and during this period no one considered the possibility of infection through water in a river, in the sea or in a pool. The studies that we have at present do not allow us to give an unambiguous answer to this question”, - the press service of the Ministry of Health told us.
So the holiday does not promise tourists this year the absence of problems. Probably, every vacationer himself must assess all the risks of summer tourism and make a decision that will first of all guarantee safety and health.
They say, "summer is a small life". This year, vacationers will have to make an effort to prevent the opposite.