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Russian Vacations To Crimea Down 25 Percent

Fewer Russians are booking vacations to Ukraine's Russia-annexed Crimean Peninsula this year compared to 2015.

Kommersant quoted Russia's leading travel agencies on May 16 as saying the number of tickets booked to the Crimean capital, Simferopol, at some travel agencies had declined by 25 percent this year.

Meanwhile, some travel agencies have raised the average cost of vacation packages in Crimea by as much as 30 percent over 2015 prices.

Agencies reported that only 20 percent of the Russian tourists who travelled to Turkey and Egypt -- the most popular holiday destinations for Russians in 2014 but to which the Kremlin has since banned direct flights -- decided to instead vacation in Russia or in the Russia-occupied Crimean Peninsula.

Among those now opting for a vacation within Russia or Russian-occupied territory, the most popular destinations are resorts in Sochi, Anapa, and Gelendzhik. Holidaymakers say there is better infrastructure and quality of service in those locations than in Crimea.

Crimean resorts had been more popular than those Russian cities last summer.

Russia forcibly annexed the Crimean Peninsula in March 2014.

Based on reporting by Kommersant