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Russian tourists not canceling bookings in Estonia yet

PHOTO: SCANPIX

The decline of the rouble has not made Russian tourists massively cancel their bookings in Estonian hotels for the New Year holiday but new sales have been affected, spokespeople at several Tallinn hotels told BNS.

"Bookings for the New Year are secured with a non-refundable fee, hence there will be no cancelations," Vitali Makejev, marketing director of Radisson Blu hotel, told BNS. He added that a negative effect could be observed in new bookings.

"Until a few weeks ago orders and inquiries kept coming. During last week and this week the hotel has received no orders from Russia for the New Year. It's very difficult to say what next year will bring because declining oil prices are affecting not Russia alone but also Norway, speaking of nearby markets," Makejev said.

Peep Ehasalu, spokesman for Sokos Hotel Viru, said that while there were no massive cancelations yet, the number of bookings from Russia was smaller than last year.

"The rapid decline of the exchange rate of the rouble is aggravating processes and if the decline continues it's possible that there will be more cancelations in the coming days. Judging by the latest news the decline has come to a halt, apparently everybody in the Estonian tourism sector is keeping a closer eye on news about the Russian economy than before," he said.

Ehasalu pointed to a change in the way customers were putting together their New Year holiday package. Where earlier travel agencies used to buy packages consisting of accommodation and a New Year party at the same hotel, now a bigger number of visitors have decided to party elsewhere and the hotel is getting more inquiries from locals about the possibility to buy tickets to a New Year party.

The manager of Go Hotel, Hanna Kilumets, said Go Hotel has received fewer group bookings than earlier and its sales via Russian travel agencies have been smaller. The number of bookings canceled is not bigger than usual, however.

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