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Russians Traveling Abroad Over New Year Decreases 5-Fold

Top travel destinations for Russians this year are Egypt, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates.

The number of Russians booking foreign travel for the New Year's holidays has decreased fivefold over the past two years, dropping to 30,000 travelers, the head of a tour operators' association was quoted by Russian media as saying.

The number of Russians choosing to spend New Year's holidays abroad has declined from 150,000 people in 2013 to 50,000 people last year, the executive director of Russia's Tour Operators Association (ATOR), Maya Lomidze was quoted by the TASS news agency as saying Tuesday.

The popularity of holiday travel two years ago marked a “completely different era,” Lomidze told Kommersant-FM radio, TASS reported.

Top travel destinations for Russians this year are Egypt, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates, comparable to past years, Lomidze was quoted as saying.

The decline in travel comes amid the fall of the Russian ruble from around 30 to the dollar in 2013 to around 62 to the dollar this week, and amid a de facto ban by Russia's government and security agencies on foreign holidays for their employees, as Moscow's relations with the West have soured over the crisis in Ukraine.

Russia's travel industry has also been hit by the fall of the country's second-biggest airline, Transaero — which is collapsing under a 250 billion ruble ($4 billion) debt pile — Lomidze said, TASS reported.

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