A return to Russia for £50: it's cheaper to fly to Moscow than Manchester

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A return to Russia for £50: it's cheaper to fly to Moscow than Manchester

Air fares between the UK and Moscow have plummeted to their lowest level in the history of jet aviation. It will cost barely £50 for a return ticket to Moscow from London, which is cheaper than a flight to Manchester and back.
 
Because of the collapsing Russia economy, ski resorts in Europe and beach resorts in Asia are notable for their absence of Russian tourists – which means there are plenty of deals for Brits looking to get away.
 
On easyJet’s routes from Gatwick and Manchester to Moscow, fares of £53 return are widely available for February and March next yearand because of the way the airline prices its flights, a couple will pay only £47 each. Visa costs, however, will cost more than the air fare.
 
Russians travelling abroad are finding that costs have doubled because of the collapse in the value of the rouble.
 
This has been exacerbated by a series of failures by Russian tour operators, with thousands of tourists stranded at airports in Asia and Europe, unable to fly home on their original tickets.
 
The decline in tourists travelling from Russia is a worry for the travel industry, particularly some high-end European resorts and mass-market Middle East and Asian destinations. While the price of oil was high and their economy was doing relatively well, Russian tourists tended to outbid other nationalities. But Patrick Millar, of the upmarket London-based firm, Kirker Holidays, said there has been a slump in demand from Russian clients: 
 
“This change in the market has been most noticeable at the top end. It has been much softer than previous years and almost gone in some places.”
 
Mr Millar said five-star hotels in cities such as Paris, Venice, Monaco and Prague were offering deals to Kirker and other companies.
 
“There are offers coming through every day. The hotels are seeing a lot of additional capacity, and they need those rooms filled,” admits Patrick. “The Russians who would usually be paying top rate are not there.” 
 
In particular, three-nights-for-the-price-of-two is a popular offer for luxury hotels in the coming spring.
 
The European Travel Commission expects Russian outbound tourism to continue to decline into 2015.
 
Valeria Croce, who conducted research into the decline, said there is a perception among some Russians that they will face hostility in Europe as a result of action in the Crimea: “Markets need to be aware of this and should ensure they take steps to ensure Russian tourists feel as welcome as they did before the Crimean crisis”.   
 
Mainstream Russian tourists tend to go to destinations in the eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East and Asia, because visa requirements are generally less onerous than for the EU.
 
A spokesman from Kuoni said: “There is an opportunity, particularly at three and four star hotels in Thailand and Dubai, for example, where they have higher volumes of Russian visitors.”
 

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