The Latvian tourism industry lives up to the principle ‘worse is better’. The situation with the crashed planes in Egypt (A321) and at the Turkish – Syrian border (Su-24) might redirect a part of Russian tourists to Latvia. It is cheap and peaceful here.
In case with Latvia it may be noted that before the foregoing events a Russian tourist was rather reluctant to abandon recreation in Riga, Jurmala and Sigulda. According to the forecasts of Rosturism the number of Russian tourists going abroad would reduce in 2016 by 40%. While according to data of the CSB for the first three quarters of this year, if compared to the same period of the previous one, the number of the Russians, who visited the Republic of Latvia, reduced by 33.3% (from 240.7 to 160.5 thousand people), but in the 3rd quarter – by 24.8% (from 91.3 to 68.7 thousand).
Thus, the Russians refuse recreation in Latvia less heartily than travels to other countries. And even now they remain the second in terms of quantity group of tourists arrived in Latvia (the first place in the 3rd quarter was held by the Germans, who came in quantity of 80.1 thousand people).
After the abovementioned incidents with the planes the outflow of Russian tourists from Latvia can be stopped and even stabilize at the level of the previous year – just in a month the tourism industry of RF lost two most popular directions. Perhaps, the Baltic Sea would manage to get a part of the holiday –makers, who lost access to the beaches of the Red and Marmara seas.
Of course, if to look for substitution in terms of the level of comfort of sea water, then it is better to do that in the countries of Southeast Asia or in the Caribbean. But, after all, the main reason of drop in the tourist traffic from Russia lies in economics rather than in politics. Devaluation of the rouble, inflation, job cuts have notably scaled down the consumption ambitions of the Russians. Therefore, the neighboring with Russia Baltic holiday resorts for poor and weathered holiday-makers would pretty suite to live out the period of tourism pessimism.
Another thing is more interesting. Despite the massive outflow of travellers from the East, the total number of tourists, who have visited Latvia, grew — by 3.4% (January – February 2015 vis-a-vis January – February 2014) and by 3.6% (3rd quarter of 2015 vis-a-vis 3rd quarter of 2014). On whose account?
The place vacated by the Russians in the 3rd quarter was taken by the Lithuanians (+30.9%) and Estonians (+30%). The results of the promotional campaign in the neighbouring countries, as well as shutting down of the local operating airlines have come into play – now the major road to the large world for the population of Lithuania and Estonia lies through Riga Airport.
The thing is that having won in quantity the Latvian tourism industry has lost in quality: according to data of the CSB, despite the rise in the number of travellers, in the 3rd quarter the hotel occupancy rate lowered (-0.5%).