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Summer Vacations Not so Sunny as Ruble Falls

Many Russians could choose to cancel trips abroad as the plunging ruble jacks up prices. Above, the coast of Turkey, a popular destination for Russian tourists. Sergei Porter

As the summer travel season approaches, many Russians may have to cancel vacation plans as travel costs rocket in tandem with the ruble's recent dive.

Costs for tour packages abroad have jumped 20 percent over the last week alone, senior manager at the Nizhny Novgorod tour agency Odyssey Lyubov Martynyuk told Vedomosti.

The cost for the trips themselves are not changing, rather it is the rapidly diverging currency values that are driving the changes, with the dollar gaining 13 percent and the euro seven percent since the end of April.

And industry purchasing practices mean many tourist agencies have taken a beating. Agencies often enter contracts with hotels in dollars or euros well ahead of the travel period, meaning as the ruble falls, the agencies must boost ruble prices to keep afloat. However, some long-term contracts for periods of two to three years have flexible price schemes.

The price increases haven't scared off those who plan to travel in the next month and a half, Martynyuk said, but those planning trips in August to September are so far waiting for the ruble to strengthen to make their purchases.

Agencies are also refraining from raising prices on tour packages already reserved but not paid for, Atlas tour agency general director Dmitry Smirnov said. Those prices are held at the level on the date the flight was reserved.

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