The popularity of summer language courses abroad tangibly declined in Russia this year, Russian Union of the Travel Industry (RUTI) press secretary Irina Tyurina told the Interfax-Tourism portal.
Tour operators have reported a 20-50 percent year-on-year decline in the demand for such programs, she said.
"Foreign embassies have said time and again that average Russians planning a vacation abroad should not fear sanctions. All countries are interested in larger tourist arrivals from Russia and no one is going to hinder the issue of visas to our tourists. But many Russians have taken the sanctions personally, and education tourism appeared to be the most vulnerable segment," Tyurina said.
She quoted operators as saying that some parents had chosen not to send their children to language schools fearing visa denials and denial stamps in their passports.
"Fortunately, trip cancellations have not turned massive. Yet the overall demand for summer education programs abroad is much lower this year," Tyurina continued.
Most cancellations on political grounds happen in regions. Muscovites are less receptive to panic over sanctions, the RUTI press secretary said. The demand for language programs for schoolchildren under 16 has declined most, primarily language programs offered by the United States and the United Kingdom. Canada and Australia belong to the same category.
"Definitely, the dollar and euro growth against the ruble had added fuel to the fire. Language courses of Malta and Cyprus are doing a bit better than others, which is explained by their relative cheapness as compared with the UK," Tyurina said.
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