Russia has opened its domestic tourist season Wednesday as it continues to grapple with the deadly coronavirus pandemic that has seen it record the world’s third-highest number of infections.
More than 70 Russian regions are expected to open their tourist seasons on July 1, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has said.
Crimea and the neighboring Black Sea coast of the Krasnodar region in southern Russia remain top tourist destinations. The Moscow, Leningrad and Kaliningrad regions also ranked among the top five vacation spots.
The Krasnodar region accounts for around 20% of bookings. Rossiya Airlines resumed flights to the region and more than 700 hotels opened their doors to vacationers last week
Crimea, which accounts for 15% of bookings, officially opened its borders to Russians on July 1.
Also on July 1, passenger trains to Kaliningrad resumed from Moscow and St. Petersburg via neighboring Belarus and Lithuania.
An official travel ban on abroad tours is still in effect in Russia. Only Russians with residence permits in destination countries, as well as those who need to work, study, seek treatment or attend relatives’ funerals, are allowed abroad.
The European Union, which reopened its borders on July 1 to visitors from 15 countries, will officially remain closed to Russians for at least the next two weeks. U.S. and Brazilian tourists, countries with two of the world’s highest Covid-19 infections, are also banned from visiting the EU due to health concerns.