Updated at 13:48,15-08-2017

Belarusian tourists refuse from Crimea and Ukraine

Artsiom Martynovich, Euroradio

Belarusians are scared of using Kiev airports and prefer Sicily and Spain to Turkey.

“Our travel agency has sent two people to Kiev. 15 tourists will cross Chernovets on their way. However, Ukraine is a problem as no one wants to cross its territory now. People have started choosing Bulgaria over Ukraine,” the travel agency Happy Tours told Euroradio.

In fact, a 10-day tour to Bulgaria costs 400 euro per person. Belarusians are choosing Europe over Ukraine and Turkey this year.

“The number of people wishing to visit Europe has incrased by 70% this year. People are tired of Turkey – it has become expensive and they are just tired of spending vacations there. There are trips to Spain and Sicily. There are more direct flights from Minsk too,” deputy director of Unica Travel Hanna Makavets said.

Two weeks in Italy (all included) costs 1.5 thousand euro. However, solo tourists are not excluding travel agencies regardless of low costs and booking services.

“We have clients who used to travel on their own a lot. However, they decided to use our services because they do not have to worry about the trip itself. Moreover, we can buy charter flights,” Hanna Makavets added.

People also prefer Montenegro to Crimea and Turkey. Montenegro bus tour prices have not changed since 2011: about 400 euro per person for 9 days at the Adriatic Sea (European transit).

“We started selling plane tours in February. People do buy them. And bus tours are popular too. The first group of tourists has already left, there were no vacant seats in the bus. It is hard to buy a bus tour now,” travel agency Smalyanka described its Montenergo offers.

Many Crimean tourists have refused from vacations abroad and will stay in their summer cottages this year, editor of the newspaper Tourism and Vacations Liliya Kobzik said.

“Many people only knew about Crimea. Now they have found out that it can be replaced with Greece. A lot of people have decided to stay in Belarus: either in summer cottages or at home. A lot of tourists are making plans for the next year – they are thinking where to go instead of Crimea,” Liliya Kobzik said.

It is possible to find trips to Crimea for $300 now: 10 days at a mini hotel in Sudak, a bus trip.

Half a million Belarusians spent their vacations in Crimea last year. Most Belarusian tourists visited Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria and Greece, Belstat notes.