European budget carrier Easyjet has started flying to Russia. Flights from London’s Gatwick to Moscow’s Domodedovo airport start at $85 for a one-way flight. The company will also fly to the Russian capital from Manchester, with rates starting at below $80. The London route is also served by Aeroflot, Transaero, and British Airways.
Russia’s negative international image is hurting its inbound tourism. At a travel conference held in Moscow in early April, Mantas Kaluina, senior research analyst for Euromonitor, said that western concerns about Russia’s visa bureacracy, security, infrastructure, and quality of tourism services is depressing demand.
In 2012, some 26 million foreign tourists visited Russia, yet most came from the “near abroad” – neighboring countries that were once part of the USSR. Nearly half came from Ukraine (6 million), Kazakhstan (3 million) and Uzbekistan (2 million). Just under one million came from Germany, a number which is not expected to rise over the next five years. Tourists from China numbered over one million.
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