Data from ForwardKeys indicates a spike in flight
cancellations to and from Russia since that country invaded Ukraine.
On February 25, the day
after the start of the invasion, ForwardKeys
data shows that for every one booking made for travel to Russia there were
six cancellations of pre-existing bookings.
The highest ratio of
cancellations to bookings came from Germany
(773%), France (472%), Italy (152%), the United Kingdom (254%), India (285%)
and Turkey (116%).
flights from Russia also showed a sudden flurry of cancellations. Between
February 24 and 26, destinations with the highest cancellation rates were Cyprus
(300%), Egypt (234%), Turkey (153%), the UK (153%), Armenia (200%), and
The cancellations come
at a time when many countries that depend on Russian tourists were starting to
see volumes of visitors improve. ForwardKeys says outbound flights from Russia for
March, April and May had recovered to 32% of pre-pandemic levels, with some popular
destinations doing much better.
Bookings for Mexico were 427% ahead of 2019,
followed by Seychelles at 279% ahead, Egypt 192% ahead and the Maldives 115%
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“The outbreak of war
always has a hugely damaging impact on the travel industry; and that is what we
are seeing here, with mass cancellations in flight bookings to and from Russia.
The Russian tourism economy was beginning to revive from the pandemic, and it
will now experience another substantial blow,” says
Olivier Ponti, vice
president of insights at ForwardKeys.
“There will also be
serious impacts on destinations that depend heavily on Russian visitors. The
current data does not yet contain the impact of sanctions, which is bound to
make the picture worse. Of course, should there be a cease-fire and successful
peace talks, the outlook for travel should improve. However, while the economic
damage already looks set to be dreadful; it is nothing compared to the human
suffering experienced by the people on the field.”
While many travel companies
have initiated efforts to assist Ukrainians as they flee their country, for now
it appears most are still offering flights to and from Russia and listing
hotels and rentals in Russia on their platforms, including Booking.com, Airbnb,
Hopper, Skyscanner and Google.
The only company that
has alerted PhocusWire to a change in policy is Expedia Group, which says, “‘In
response to recent acts and government-imposed sanctions weighed against
Russia, we have ceased the sale of travel into and out of Russia. We are
saddened by what continues to unfold in Ukraine and will continue to do what we
can to support impacted travelers, partners, and our team members with families
and friends in the affected areas.”