Belarus leads by a great margin, with just 17 percent of Russian online hotel bookings on the site aimed at Ukraine and 14 percent at Kazakhstan. Vitebsk is acknowledged as the best ‘low-budget’ city, with rooms available for around $61.
Gennady Levshin, who heads a major tourist company aimed at foreign visitors, confirms that Minsk, Brest and Vitebsk are the most popular cities among Russians, although numbers have fallen significantly compared to 2014. He admits, “Fewer tourists are arriving, although those travelling for business remain fairly constant. Even these guests are now tending to book three or four star hotels rather than five. Fewer are scheduled to visit for the May holidays (in comparison to last year), showing that the crisis in the Russian economy is truly affecting people’s willingness to travel.”
Marina Mastashova, a consultant for planning and organising tourist activity with the Sports and Tourism Ministry’s Tourism Department, confirms that tourist companies are complaining of falling numbers of Russian travellers. Exact figures should be available after the first quarter.
By Victor Andreev