Tour operators and independent travel planning systems recorded a sharp increase in interest among Russian tourists in the republics of the South Caucasus. According to them, the number of those wishing to spent vacation in Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia increased by at least 50%.
Up to 1.5 million Russians are going to visit Abkhazia, which is 20% higher than in 2015.
According to the Dolphin company, 200-300 thousand tourists from Russia will arrive in Georgia this summer, 100-200 thousand people in Kazakhstan, 100 thousand in Kyrgyzstan, 50 thousand in Uzbekistan and about 30 thousand in Tajikistan.
The tendency of the growth of popularity of spending vacations in the countries of the South Caucasus equally affected both Muscovites and residents of other Russian cities, Kommersant writes.
The vice president of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia, Ilya Umansky, confirmed this information in conversation with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza. According to him, this is due to "the refusal of tourists to travel abroad, to Europe". "First of all, this is due to changes in the ruble exchange rate against foreign currencies. Tourists began to switch over to domestic tours. Thus, the South Caucasus countries have received a significant increase in the number of tourists," he said.
In the first place, the successes of the Transcaucasian republics is due to "relatively low resort prices". "Secondly, this is a political issue, these are neighboring countries, the countries of the former USSR, so there is a nostalgic theme. Thirdly, they're close to us and many people have not been in these countries over the past 20 years, so, of course, it is interesting for them to discover these areas," Umansky explained.
"If we speak about the countries of the South Caucasus, there have been drastic changes in the past two years and now we talk about the 50% growth. In the first place, of course, there are excursion programs in Azerbaijan, Baku and other regions, Georgia and Armenia. There is also a certain demand for spa treatments in Azerbaijan, for example, in Naftalan. In Georgia, there is a demand for Batumi, where there are conditions for a beach holiday. People rediscover these countries for themselves, for them it is interesting to see and get some information," the vice president of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia concluded.
The press secretary of the Federal Tourism Agency, Svetlana Sergeyeva, in her turn, explained such an interest among Russian tourists in the republics of the South Caucasus "by comfortable, affordable and quality resorts with very good food cuisine and interesting attractions". "A tourist can find here everything which can be interesting for him: from cultural tourism to gastronomy," she said.