Crimea: what happened to that nice place for rest?
Former Minister of Tourism and Resorts of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea tells about the prospects for the 2016 tourist season on the peninsula
Read the original text at NV.UA.
During the whole period of Ukraine’s independence, the flow of tourists in Crimea has been increasing. In 90s there were 2.5 to 3.5 million tourists, in 2012 this figure reached 6 million and continued to grow. The season was prolonged; Crimea became a year-round resort, and the proportion of foreigners in the Crimean tourist traffic has also increased. Thus, in 2012-2013, 4 million tourists were Ukrainians, and 2 million were foreigners. Russians took the main part - about 1.3 million. In addition, each year increased the share of tourists from Turkey, the European Union and other countries. The growth of tourist flow in Crimea was the result of systematic and deliberate state policy of Crimean authorities at the time.
After the annexation of the peninsula in 2014, the number of tourists significantly declined. Many specialized infrastructure facilities, such as hotels and motels, has not opened at all. In 2015, the tourists came exclusively from Russia. According to the Association of the hospitality industry of Ukraine, only some 30 thousand people came to rest there, mainly in Yalta and Sevastopol.
The tourist season in Sevastopol and Yalta was barely not affected by the annexation. These two cities share the main tourist flow. We should also mention the town of Saky, mud spas of which were full. However, this case is not very representative, because of its narrow specifics (medical profile). The tourist flow in Yalta and Alushta is far below the loss. The catastrophic situation is in the resorts of Kerch, Sudak, Feodosia, Chornomorske, and Rozdolne. Dozens of facilities are closed on the west coast of Crimea, besides many spa facilities are offered for sale.
Thus, we can predict that in the Crimean season 2016 will be the same as the last year, i.e. 1.2-1.5 mln. tourists from Russia. It is worth mentioning that in 2014, Crimea hosted about 2 million people, of which almost 30% were residents of Ukraine. Already in 2015, the share of Ukrainian tourists in Crimean flow did not exceed 100 thousand. Moreover, in 2016 Crimea would host only some 2-3 thousand Ukrainian tourists.
Three main reasons why Ukrainian tourists do not go to Crimea:
1. Security. Ukrainians do not feel safe in annexed Crimea.
2. No transport: no planes, no trains or buses. Earlier, almost 90% of those 6 million tourists have traveled to Crimea by these three means of transport from Ukraine.
3. Patriotic position of citizens of Ukraine who consider a trip to the Crimea impossible during its annexation.
Profitability of the Crimean resorts requires 3 million tourists. The resorts would be able to pay salaries and recoup the costs for the period of work. When the flow is 5 million tourists, Crimean resorts can recoup the cost of their maintenance in the off season and start getting profit.
The resorts in Western Ukraine become increasingly popular among Ukrainian citizens. Every year, the flow of tourists in Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk regions is increasing. The potential of Western Ukraine is significant; and it is not used even by 15-20%. Most of the Crimean health resorts Ukraine will replace with its capabilities in the Carpathians, Poltava, and other areas. But in matters of personal relaxation and children's health, Crimea has no alternatives, although tourism potential in all regions of Ukraine is really high.
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