The head of the Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, called the region the most affected in the tourism sector due to the suspension of air traffic. Russian tourists who have reached the peninsula, however, find their pluses.
On July 20, the head of the region, Sergei Aksyonov, called Crimea the most affected in the tourism industry. “We are practically the front line,” he said in an interview with RBC. By June 10, the head of the region plans to propose government measures to support the peninsula for consideration by the president.
However, the season is somehow open. Transport travelers choose their own. Tour operators buy only accommodation. Most of the organized tourists booked earlier - it was stimulated by the introduced tourist cashback until the end of June, as well as the pricing policy of local hoteliers.
The biggest problem for tourists who have gathered in the Crimea this summer is transport.
Since the beginning of the year and by June, 815 thousand people entered the peninsula, which is 32% lower than last year. The lack of air traffic has collapsed the tourist flow. Simferopol airport is closed, the decision to open it is made by the military.
From mid-July until the end of summer, it is almost impossible to get tours with an included flight (and then only to Sochi, then a many-hour train).
Nevertheless, as before, most tourists (about 60%) will come to Crimea in the summer in their own cars, the Rostourism notes. For families and small companies up to four or five people, this is the most economical way to get to the peninsula, in addition, the issue of mobility during the holidays is completely removed.
“The season in Crimea can still be brought, if not to last year’s, then at least to a satisfactory level. According to our forecasts, the majority of tourists this summer will go to the Crimea in their own car. Therefore, now everything must be done to make such a car trip more comfortable for tourists. One of the most important conditions is to ban all repair work on the road to Crimea during the summer season. This will avoid long congestion and traffic jams. Another possible measure is to make travel on the paid section of the M4 highway free for tourists”, - says Sergey Romashkin, vice president of ATOR, general director of the Dolphin tour operator.
Today, when capturing the entire possible paid section of the highway to Crimea, the duty is 2,000 rubles, in both directions - 4,000 rubles.
Unlike last year, however, in the Crimea for car tourists, the fee for hotel parking has been completely abolished. Such a bonus is given in Evpatoria, Alushta, Simferopol, Feodosia, Sudak, Kerch, etc.
Some hoteliers at the start of the high season offered special promotions for car travelers, for example, half-price accommodation, cashback for kilometers traveled, and accommodation as a gift.
"Gasoline. When we went to the Crimea, I thought that on the whole peninsula there would be dilapidated gas stations with incomprehensible fuel. In fact, there are quite decent network gas stations that are no worse than our Gazprom ones. Nets that I remember: ATAN TES RED and GRIFFIN. I refueled at ATAN, everything is in order with the car. It can be concluded that gasoline is of high quality. In Crimea, gasoline costs an average of 5 rubles more per liter. We filled up a full tank in front of the bridge. In the Crimea itself, they refueled twice and spent about 4,000 rubles on gasoline. On the road from St. Petersburg to the Crimea, we spent 8,000 rubles on gasoline. In total, we spent 20,070 rubles on gasoline", - says Alexander K.
In conditions of a closed sky, railroads increased transportation to the maximum. Transportation to the Crimea is organized by the company "Grand Service Express" (train "Tavria"). The Ministry of Transport of Russia reported that the company will provide 121 trains to the peninsula.
In addition to regular flights, seasonal trains from St. Petersburg, Pskov, Moscow, Smolensk and Astrakhan will run, and this summer, the route network is replenished with three more directions: train No. 177/178 St. Petersburg - Feodosia, trailer group No. 675/676 Belgorod - Simferopol, trailer group No. 551/552 Arkhangelsk - Sevastopol.
“The longest route, Murmansk-Simferopol, will become even longer this year. The train will run to Sevastopol - a total of 4,620 kilometers and 61 stops along the way (train No. 183/184 runs 1 time in 9-10 days)", - Grand Service Express says.
On average, up to 700 people on single-decker trains and up to 850 on double-decker trains can come to Crimea on each train.
"Railway tickets are relatively affordable, even in a compartment - the Antimonopoly Service is closely monitoring prices here. But the question is the availability of places, which are clearly not enough. It is declared that you can buy a ticket, but you and I understand that going on vacation with your family is not the same as going on a business trip for one person. If you are traveling alone, one place is enough for you somewhere. If a family is traveling, then scattering it all over the train is not a solution. So that the family can calmly buy a compartment and go - this is an almost impossible luxury", - says Ilya Umansky, head of the committee of the Russian Union of the Tourism Industry (PCT) for domestic tourism.
Russian Railways has done everything possible to increase the number of trains. But there are single-lane sections on the territory of Crimea, and due to these systemic limitations of the transport network, it is impossible to increase the carrying capacity only due to the number of trains. We moved the timetable, attached as many wagons as possible, but this is still not enough to cover all the need for rail transportation in this direction. There are still not enough tickets. And in general, the pleasure is below average: the train from Moscow to Simferopol travels 35 hours. There is a problem, the expert adds.
A single ticket - “train + bus” remains the second most popular way for tourists to get to Crimea in summer. Multimodal transportation provides more flexible prices; starting from the beginning of June, it is possible to issue such tickets at all ticket offices of railway stations, on the website and application of Russian Railways, and in agent networks.
In a single ticket, the buses are synchronized with the schedule of the main long-distance trains. They run in both directions between the railway station of Anapa and the railway station of Simferopol three times a day, the duration of the bus trip after transferring from the train is 5-5.5 hours.
At the beginning of July, the cost of a single ticket from Moscow to Simferopol was from 5.1 thousand rubles (with a reserved seat car in the railway segment) and from 7.6 thousand rubles (with a compartment).
The cost of a single ticket from St. Petersburg to Crimea starts from 5.5 thousand rubles, from Kazan - from 5.6 thousand rubles.
But for July 20 and until the beginning of August, according to requests on the Russian Railways website, tickets from Moscow and St. Petersburg to Crimea (offered with a transfer in Krasnodar) are almost sold out. There are only a few offers left, the cost for one way per person starts from 8 thousand rubles.
Another way to get to Crimea is by bus. In summer, they depart daily from Moscow to Simferopol. Travel time - 23-30 hours (depending on the carrier). In June-July, prices started from 2.8-3.6 thousand rubles. They also get to the Crimea by bus from the cities of the Krasnodar Territory, and to them - by train or plane.
For 4-4.5 thousand rubles one way per person, they sell organized bus transportation to the Crimea.
"Today, bus transportation is somewhat more convenient, since tourists travel by bus much closer to their accommodation in the resort. Transportation is organized on modern comfortable buses with a bathroom and a kitchen. Organized tourist transportation by bus obliges to comply with some additional rules. For example, tourists must be accompanied by an escort", - says the general director of the Dolphin company Sergey Romashkin.
Tour operators report "very cautious" booking of Crimea. The figures are twice as low as last year.
Organized tours sank significantly. What is an organized tour? Half the cost of the "package" is the flight / road to the final destination. Tourists value tours precisely because charter flights are much cheaper than regular ones, and the travel company also takes care of all the hassle of interacting with the airline. However, when flights are closed, the value of tour operators is reduced. One way or another, you have to think about the road yourself, and having already coped with this global task on your own, finding and booking a hotel with an abundance of services, or even just through friends, is a mere trifle.
Through the most popular travel aggregator sletat.ru, "NI" managed to get only one package tour with included flights (and then only to Sochi): Sudak, two weeks for two, 3 * hotel without food, flight without luggage - from 125 thousand rubles . The flight is operated by SmartAvia.
Organized tours with a flight to Simferopol, Evpatoria, Nikolayevka, Alushta, Sevastopol (in fact, also only to Sochi) at prices from 66 thousand rubles, according to the platform, are sold out.
In other resorts of Crimea, according to data from the sletat.ru service - in Feodosia, Yalta, Peschanoe, Simeiz, Koktebel, etc. tour operators offer only hotel accommodation, at best + food and medical insurance. Travelers must take care of the road themselves. Prices are different - from 40 thousand for two for two weeks to infinity.
- Buy only accommodation, ground handling. Tourists themselves choose how to get to the place of rest, and only the hotel is booked with the tour operator. Flights to Crimea are not yet carried out, the timing of the opening of the airspace is still unclear. If planes to Simferopol can fly again, then this type of transport, according to expert estimates, may account for 25-30% of the tourist flow. However, the rest of the tourists - 70-75% of the total flow, even if the airport opens, will go to the resorts of the peninsula by rail or by road, the press service of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia reports.
Against the backdrop of falling demand for the Crimea, many hoteliers are reducing prices for the hot season. Unlike last year, when tourists fought for empty seats from everywhere - from a plane ticket to a hotel room and a beach chair, this year, on the contrary, the Crimean business is fighting for a client.
Unlike the resorts of the Krasnodar Territory, prices in the Crimea remained mostly at last year's level. Some hoteliers have even reduced them by 5-15% compared to the summer of 2021.
“The accommodation facilities of the South and West Banks are popular: the middle price segment and with developed infrastructure, as well as high-level hotels”, - the National Tour Operator ALEAN said.
On the Western coast of Crimea, there are gently sloping sandy beaches, convenient for families with children, but the Southern coast of Crimea is still in the lead in terms of the number of applications, Intourist reported.
Most in demand are family-oriented hotels in 3 and 4 * hotels on an all-inclusive basis.
Hoteliers and restaurateurs have been recording a drop in demand for several years. Tourists come with less money for additional expenses, so the all-inclusive form of service provision is becoming more and more popular among the consumer. Initially, when buying a basic tour, you need to pay a little more, but then on the vacation itself, money is practically not needed, Umansky notes. The format is convenient for tourists with children, because children on vacation consume a lot of "dop" - ice cream, lemonade, sweets, rides. All this set is available in all-inclusive hotels. Oddly enough, but this allows the hotel to save money - a large range of services is provided not at a commercial cost. The main profit comes from the sale of the main service, and additional ones are provided at a price close to the cost price due to mass consumption.
"This year we fix the average check for a trip for two - 47 thousand rubles (subject to the advance purchase of tickets). But this statistic includes holidays on the entire Black Sea coast of Russia, not only in the Crimea. The average duration of a trip this year is 8 days, it has not changed compared to last year, but again the average price has increased by 16%. The largest increase is in Sochi - 19%. Least of all prices have changed in the Crimea, in June the cost of rest there was even lower than the June cost of last year. In July, prices corrected and became slightly more expensive than last year - by about 8%. The key reason for all price movements is demand", - notes Ilya Umansky.
In the spring of 2022, due to a special operation in Crimea, a “yellow level of terrorist threat” was declared, and since then it has been extended more than once.
“The increased level of terrorist threat applies mainly to the objects of the ministry and does not apply to tourist places”, - said the head of the Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov.
Officials are trying to convince the Russians that nothing threatens them in Crimea.
Internet reviews of tourists about holidays on the peninsula are different. Some people rejoice at half-empty beaches and not overloaded hotels and note that the vacation was perfect, others specify that a vacation at sea with a constant howl of fighter jets overhead cannot be called relaxing.
"Partially the flow was reduced for safety reasons. Tourists associate holidays in the Crimea with proximity to Ukraine, although the irony is that the same Anapa is closer to the places of hostilities than Yalta. Talk that the Crimean bridge could be blown up does not add to the enthusiasm. Despite everything, 60% of the flow of tourists (excluding those who arrive by plane) should have been, but the Russian-Ukrainian factor intervened, and we got a reduction of these 60% by about half", - sums up the head of the Russian Union of Tourism Industry committee on domestic tourism Ilya Umansky.
Yelena Zorina, a flight attendant, shared her impressions of her vacation in Crimea:
"Previously, my family and I spent holidays only abroad, in Europe, and got to the resorts exclusively by plane. But life has changed, and for the third year we are resting in sanatoriums in the Crimea. My employer, an airline company, pays for the trips in full for two family members and 50% for other relatives. Plus - once a year we can use a preferential flight. Sochi, I don’t consider the entire Black Sea coast of the Krasnodar Territory at all, there are always a lot of people and a dirty sea, this is not the kind of vacation that my children and I need".
We are from Moscow. This year I flew to Crimea for 14 days with two children. The biggest problem is that it's hard to get to. Trains cannot run more than the capacity allows. We flew to Sochi, and then 18 hours by train in a compartment to Simferopol. At the same time, we bought tickets in advance, in March - then the whole road cost us 12 thousand rubles in both directions per person. But already now I heard from people on vacation that they only bought a reserved seat in both directions in June for 10 thousand rubles per person. But by the way, the train was very decent, although not fast and not branded, I was pleasantly surprised.
This year there are very few people in Crimea - probably half of last year. These are mostly beneficiaries and devoted fans of the Crimea, I would call them that - they adore the local nature, the sea, the air.
The employees of our sanatorium said that the hotel was one-third loaded, they did not even open the upper floors.
Personally, I was better than last year. Closed transportation played a plus in terms of comfort for those who arrived. No crowds and queues in canteens, no need to wait long for breakfast, lunch, dinner. Last year, at 10 am, it was no longer possible to find a free sun lounger even on closed and private beaches, they were charged for. There is nothing like this this year. The only thing is that due to the loss of income, hotels this year could not hire children's animators.
The food is good and varied. The markets have their fine fruits at great prices.
The quality of the Internet is growing. Wi-fi in the hotel is good, free - not to compare with what it was last year.
Last year, everywhere there was a big problem to withdraw cash or pay by card. Taxi, public transport, shops asked for cash. This year, not everywhere, but in large stores and cafes you can already pay by card. In our sanatorium there were Sberbank and Tinkov ATMs. Sber takes a commission of 100 rubles for any operation, Tinkov - 0.
Attractions are all open. They are greeted with great hospitality. There are many excursions for every budget. You can walk around the Nikitsky Botanical Garden for free, or you can rush into the gorges on a yacht for a good price.
Many tourists come by car, build routes themselves and move easily, they manage to visit many places.
The service has grown. It seems to me that the Crimeans have understood that it is possible to earn money on the service. Employees of institutions say that the situation was corrected by incoming subsidies.
I think one of the reasons why people didn't go is because of the fear of close combat. Secondly, in order to leave for reasonable prices, you need to start messing around with vouchers for six months, not to miss the moment.
People, service personnel in Crimea constantly talk about the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. No one is indifferent, everyone is worried, almost everyone has relatives in Ukraine. But the Russians do not wish bad.