The Russian invasion of Ukraine has curbed the sale of trips to the east. Community agencies confirm a “small break” in the last week, a setback that they hope will be “on time” and not affect Easter, dates for which “many flights are already being completed.”
The president of the association that brings them together, Jorge Moncada, confirmed yesterday that this impasse began “when the conflict broke out.” “The importance of the coronavirus has been put aside. Now what worries us is the continuity of the war,” he explained.
The current situation especially affects countries such as Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia or even Budapest, Germany or Poland. “Russia was going to be the star destination this year, as it was before the pandemic. Three direct flights left from Zaragoza in the summer, the planes were full. I have come to take groups of up to 60 people. It was also a claim for Baltic cruises. Many people chose them precisely because they stopped in St. Petersburg,” Moncada said.
All this has changed with the escalation of the war, which could leave consequences in the medium or long term, since Russia has decided to close its airspace to countries like Spain in the face of sanctions approved by the international community. The sector hopes that Aragón can benefit from the plan announced by Pedro Sánchez, which It includes the tourist promotion of the most exposed destinations to compensate for the absence of Russian tourists. However, it is aware that the level of travelers received by the Community “is not comparable” to that of Andalusia, the Balearic Islands or the Mediterranean coast.
“Those who come on a trip usually go looking for luxury, clothing stores, sun, beach and good food,” Moncada summarized.
According to data from the Department of Industry, up to 3,105 Russian tourists visited the Community in 2018. In 2019, 2,842 did so, while in 2021, the figure fell to 268 due to the pandemic.
“Mostly, they were interested in our monumental heritage, our museum offer, guided tours, and in general, by the historical ensembles of the territory“, they pointed out from the Executive. In the case of the Ukrainian population there are no statistics, since, according to the Ministry, their presence is “very minority”.
Moncada hopes that the current break will last a maximum of 10 or 15 days and that the sector can resume the recovery he was witnessing after months marked by the pandemic.