bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Friday 20.10.2017 | Name days: Leonīda, Leonīds
LithuaniaLithuania

Russians on edge amid ruble meltdown, Palanga vexed over Russians’ loss

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(+1 rating, 1 votes)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RULinas Jegelevičius for the BNN

A pre-Christmas Palanga, the Lithuanian resort on the Baltic coast, dazzling with the festively embellished alley of Christmas trees, is usually bustling with hordes of Russian tourists a week before the major holidays. But this December, the promenade has been spookily quiet, with few Russian couples sauntering along it.

A free-fall of the ruble and the drought of hard currency has held up the panicky Russians at home.  Not only Palanga, but entire Lithuania feels the drought of Russians ahead of a joyful holiday season.

Russians are Palanga’s breadwinner

Posh stores and boutiques, usually swarmed up by high-end pre-Christmas shoppers from the East at this time of year, are nearly empty this season, and the New Year bids nothing good for the sales.

Russians, Lithuania‘s big-spenders, are gone.

«The rate of the ruble and the euro has become so big that our trip to Palanga now costs us a fortune, really unbearable for a middle Russian family. We usually come to the Lithuanian seaside in summer, too, but we’re afraid we won’t afford it next summer,» Lidija, one of Russian nationals met in Palanga, admitted.

The Russians’ unease reverberates across Lithuania, and Palanga, Russian tourism-wise, is taking the brunt.

«As of now, the tumble of Russian visitors is about 20-30 percent. Generally speaking, for quite some years, there are fewer Russians coming for New Year to Palanga. Five years ago, for example, Russian guests would take up around 30 percent of the rooms, but they are gone now –Lithuanians are replacing them,» Kristina Telpokaitė, sales and marketing head at Gabija Hotel, told.

She says Russians are exceptional tourists, who tend to stay in the resort for two or three weeks. Furthermore, go around splurging money.

«Russians have always been the chief source of the Palanga’s revenues,» the senior hotel staffer noted.

Time to, forget it now.

Stream dwindled to a trickle

The interim director of the Palanga Tourism Information Center (PTIC), Egidija Smilingienė, told BNN that the robust stream of Russians has waned to a tepid trickle.

«Last November, for example, we logged in 110 Russians’ walk-ins, and this past November only 27,» she said, warning the statistics may not reflect the real situation.

“Many visitors just pass by the center, but, sure, the trend of decline is tangible,» she agreed.

On the other hand, the PTIC official emphasized, all Palanga tourism cannot be hinged only on Russians.

«As Palanga is about to launch an air route to London from 2015, we expect that we will see a more diverse spectrum of Palanga visitors,» she said.

But for most Palanga entrepreneurs, namely Russians are the golden eggs and with the hatcher barren, the business prospects are worse than ever.

«C’mon, just don’t count too much on other tourists. Many of the Belarusians who dropped by Palanga last summer would buy shashliks in local supermarkets and grill them in the backyards of rental rooms instead of checking in a hotel and savoring at a local restaurant,» Gintaras Siciunas, a Palanga hotelier told BNN.

The worst plight in seven years

«Indeed, we have seen Russian tourists’ decrease since the spring, and our estimate is that the dip will account for 30 percent this year. We are observing a really slow hotel fill-up this holiday season. This has been the worst hit over the last six or seven years,» Evalda Šiškauskienė, president of Lithuania’s Hotel and Restaurant Association (LHRA) told.

And with New Year around the corner, the outlook for seeing Russian tourists in the country in 2015 is bleak.

«When a country is preoccupied with war and economic tensions, travelling is not a priority. I reckon that the smearing campaign against Lithuania also produces certain results. Besides, part of travel agencies have gone bankrupt in Russia, and people tend to be relying less on them,» the president pointed out.

She says that the Association will compile exact information on the number of Russian visitors in early January.

«Now it‘s pretty hard to tell it, as many inquiries in Russian comes from other Russian speakers, Belarusians, for example,» the LHRA head noted.

German tourists outnumber Russians

The broader picture of Lithuanian tourism looks pretty encouraging though.

The country‘s Tourism Department estimates that by the end of the year the Baltic country will have been visited by more than 2 million tourists in 2014.

Notably, the domestic share of the growth makes nearly 10 percent and that of out-going tourism stands at 8 percent.

«But the flows of Russians have been edging down. To our estimate, the decrease will be up to 10.5 percent. As quite a few segments of the Slavic guests fall off, only a mere share, still capable of affording the trip, remains,» said Raimonda Balniene, the former director of the Lithuanian Tourism Department.

Interestingly, the arrivals of Polish visitors are also declining, but the Department expects to make up the loss with visitors from other countries.

On top of Lithuania’s most  tourist-producing countries sits Germany- 77.900 Germans showed up in Lithuania over the year‘s nine months, an increase of 5,000, year-on-year. The runner up in the standings is Russia with 64,800 visitors. Russia slipped from the first place last year, when 76,800 Russian citizens swung by Lithuania. Belarus is third (54,300 and 43,100 visitors, respectively), Poland is fourth (41,300 against 44,800 visitors last year), followed by Latvia (33.100 and 27,100), Estonia (16,800 and 15,500), United Kingdom (16,200 and 15,700) and Italy (15,100 and 13,600).

Russians prefer staying at home this holiday season

Relattively to the news, Russian media note that, this Christmas season, Russians preffer spending their holidays in local resorts and do not venture taking longer and more expensive trips.

The nose-dive of the ruble is not the only culprit- many Russians are wary of the recent scandalous meltdown of some major Russian travel organizers and the susequent 25 percent spike in air-fares.

According to a poll by Intelligent Research for Growth, only a mere 8 percent of Russian consumers had complaints of an adverse economic impact on their lives. But now the number steeped up to 49 percent, according to the poll. Interestingly, a whopping 47 percent of the surveyees responded they were going to scrap their holiday plans as a result of the economic crunch.

Ref: 020/111.111.111.2020


Leave a reply

Prime Minister: Latvia cannot accept additional asylum seekers

Latvia cannot afford to resettle additional asylum seekers, said Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis during his meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Thursday, 19 October.

Scandinavians purchase tourism company in Lithuania; changes expected in Latvia too

Dutch Otravo online travel organization has expanded and has purchased Lithuanian online travel agency Interno Partneris, thereby entering the Baltic market.

Ombudsman: non-citizen status matter should be resolved in next decade

The next ten years may be the transition period to ‘put an end’ to the non-citizen status in Latvia, said ombudsman Juris Jansons in an interview to LTV programme Rīta panorama.

Swedish Foreign Minister: harassment exists at highest political level

The Foreign Affairs Minister of Sweden, Margot Wallström, has commended the current sexual assault and harassment awareness campaign in social media and urged to fellow politicians to address the problem.

Latvenergo recognized as Latvia’s most valuable company for tenth time

Latvenergo has been recognized as Latvia’s most valuable company in 2017. Its value grew 34% in comparison with 2016, according to the TOP 101 list of Latvia’s most valuable companies compiled by Prudentia and Nasdaq Riga.

Number of births and number of deaths decline in Latvia

During the first nine months of this year 15,723 babies were born in Latvia, which is 1,113 children fewer than in the corresponding period of the last year.

CC applies binding conditions for the sale of MTG Broadcasting AB

Latvian Competition Council has decided to permit Bite Lietuva to purchase MTG Broadcasting AB group’s businesses in Latvia. CC has applied several binding conditions to prevent a possible impact on competition on the television services and advertisement market.

Eesti Energia warns: Limiting CO2 emissions on capacity could endanger energy supply

Estonian energy giant Eesti Energia has evaluated that a plan under discussion in the European Union to introduce a carbon dioxide release limit for capacity mechanisms to qualify for subsidies could adversely affect the security of supply in Estonia and the Baltic states.

Solidarity tax norm recognized as non-compliant with Latvia’s Constitution

On Thursday, 19 October, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Latvia declared the Solidarity tax norm as non-compliant with the country’s Constitution.

Survey: Riga residents go to the doctor’s the most often

34% of residents undergo regular health checks, according to Mana Aptieka & Apotheka health index. In addition, women are twice as serious about health checks as men.

LG cozies up with idea of rebuilding railway tracks to Reņģe, Latvia

Lithuania‘s Lietuvos Geležinkeliai has sent a mixed message as to what it intends to do next following an EC fine of nearly 28 million against it over the dismantling a 19-km railway stretch with the Latvian village of Rengė.

Čigāne: European Union’s social pillar is very important to Latvia

On Wednesday, 18 October, Saeima’s European Affairs Committee approved Latvia’s national position on the introduction of EU Pillar of Social Rights.

40% of all car problems are relate to lighting, battery and security systems

It has been determined that 41% of all car problems are related to lighting devices, 39% of problems are related to malfunctioning batteries, and 44% of problems are related to security systems.

Xi Jinping: Chinese socialism has entered new era

China's ruling Communist Party's five-year congress has been opened with the country's President Xi Jinping outlining a general plan for the future development of China.

Public transport in Latvia procurement may be at risk

Considering that continued and unhindered provision of public transport services on ten routes may become at risk from 1 January 2018 onward, Public Transport Council made a decision to ask the Road Directorate to sign a new contract to ensure services are available in multiple Latvian cities, as confirmed by Road Directorate.

Iraqi forces retake disputed territories from Kurdish forces

Three weeks after the Iraqi Kurdistan independence referendum, forces of the Iraqi central government have taken control of the territories in the country, which had been seized by Kurdish fighters after victories over the terrorist group «Islamic State».

Sale of MTG’s business in Baltics to Providence concludes successfully

Wednesday, 18 October, marked the successful conclusion of the sale of Baltic assets owned by Swedish media concern Modern Times Group to Providence Equity Partners. From now on companies previously owned by MTG in Baltics will function as a single organization named All Media Baltics, as confirmed by the company’s manager Pierre Danon.

Estonian port company makes 29% more revenue in January-September

Estonian state port company Port of Tallinn has made the revenue in the amount of 99.1 million euros in the first nine months of 2017, which is a 29% increase compared to January-September in 2016.

42 gambling halls to be closed down in Riga in next five years

On Wednesday, 18 October, Riga City Council supported plans to close another 33 gambling halls in the city. With that, a total of 42 gambling halls will be liquidated in the next five year.

Latvia has the highest index of female CEOs among EU member states

The highest index of female CEOs among European Union member states belongs to Latvia – 47%. In total, only 33% of CEOs in EU were female last year, according to data from the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia.

Survey: more and more people take notice of benefits provided by EU membership

65% of Latvian residents believe the country’s membership in the European Union has brought tangible benefits. A similar opinion was voiced by 64% of residents of all EU member states in the Eurobarometer study performed by the European Parliament.

17 persons in need of international aid are relocated to Latvia from Turkey

On Tuesday, 17 October, seventeen individuals, including nine children, in need of international protection were relocated to Latvia from Turkey as part of EU resettlement programme, as confirmed by Latvian Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs.

BATL: to avoid crisis in transit sector, government and Transport Ministry must act

Latvian Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis’ led Latvian Ports, Transit and Logistics Council also supports Saeima’s National Economy Committee’s decision on the need for Transport Ministry to develop a long-term vision for the development of the country’s transit industry.

Psychologist: six-year-old children are not ready for school

«It is wrong to believe that the sooner a child starts going to school, the better their academic results will be. Reforms are performed aggressively, without asking pedagogues or other specialists for their opinion. We lack a comprehensive analysis of the current situation that would be based on studies, not international ratings,» says certified clinical psychologist and psychotherapist Jolanta Lamstere.

Klaipeda transport ticketing system to be installed by Estonian Ridango

In the Lithuanian port city of Klaipeda, Estonian firm Ridango has been selected for installing its technology on public transport.