You can find a hotel room for 400 roubles (€8) a night
The first summer season in Crimea under the Russian flag has been a disappointment, the news agency AFP discovers, and local businesses are suffering.
“The season is ruined, there is nobody here,” says Galina Anchukova, a restaurant in sunny Feodosia.
The Crimean peninsula with plentiful hotels and spas was once the pearl of Soviet vacation zones. Since Ukraine achieved independence in 1991, many of its most loyal holiday guests came from majority Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine. But since the conflict started in eastern Ukraine, transport links between the two regions have been cut.
“Normally most of the tourists have been coming from southeastern Ukraine, but that’s where the war is and there are no more direct trains from those regions,” Anchukova explains. “We’ve got tourists from Russia, but not that many of them. We hope next season will be better.”
Visitor numbers have halved to little more than 3 million so far in 2014, and accommodation rates have been slashed. Spas are running at 30% occupancy. Hotel rooms are on offer for 400 roubles (€8) a night, claims Natalya Gorlova of the travel agency Nika.
[pictured: Swallow’s Nest, built in 1912, near Gaspra, Crimea; photo by Yerei Maksim Massalitin]