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Destination Crimea?

Wednesday, April 02, 2014 - 01:38

April 2 - Tourism, Crimea's main industry, is in doubt since the picturesque Black Sea peninsula was seized by Russian troops last month. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

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It's been called the Russia's answer to the Riviera. In Soviet days, Crimea's hotels and sanatoria became prized holiday accommodations for workers and their families, sent to the seaside for state-funded rest. Now there is no battle over deck chairs. Crimea's Deputy Tourism minister voices his concerns. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) CRIMEA'S DEPUTY TOURISM MINISTER, IGOR KOTLYAR, SAYING: "The people who rent rooms and houses make quite a large part of our tourist market. As for now, I think there will be significantly less of those tourists because this market was mostly oriented to Ukrainians." Hotels are feeling the pinch. Pools stand empty and there is plenty of room in dining halls. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) DIRECTOR OF PORTO MARE HOTEL, MIKHAIL BYCHENKOV, SAYING: "It is generally hard to fill hotels in Crimea out of season, and the unstable situation here has affected business too. We feel it particularly now, during school spring holidays, because we were supposed to receive a lot of children and guests, but unfortunately at the moment we have five times less people than expected." About 6 to 8 million tourists visit Crimea each year. More than 60 percent come from Ukraine, from which Crimea has just seceded, and only a quarter from Russia, the country it has voted to join.

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Destination Crimea?

Wednesday, April 02, 2014 - 01:38