What crisis? Russian tourists not canceling their Middle East trips

According to the Vice President of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR), Russian travelers are not calling off their Middle East trips, despite the recommendations from the Russian Federal Agency for Air Transport for Russian airlines to avoid Iranian and Iraqi airspace.

On January 8, the federal agency advised Russian carriers against flying over Iran and Iraq, as well as over the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. With this in mind, the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism asked travel agencies to inform tourists promptly about changes in the timetable of flights.

“This does not affect [the demand]. There have been no trip cancellations. Moreover, we have already had a similar situation, when a decision was made to bypass Ukraine en route to Turkey,” the ATOR official said.

The United Arab Emirates is the most lucrative Middle Eastern destination for Russian tourists, he said. As for Iran, it is visited mainly by individual tourists, he said. According to him, about 16,000 people visited Iran last year, including 2,000 organized tourists.