Sales of overseas flights during the New Year break have fallen sharply compared to last year, as an economic slump forces more Russians to celebrate the holiday at home, the RBC news agency reported Thursday.
Bookings for flights to foreign destinations during the holiday period, which runs from Jan. 1-10, are down 30 percent year-on-year, according to data compiled by online booking company Onetwotrip and cited by RBC.
Passenger numbers on flights from Russia have been depressed since a sharp fall in the value of the ruble late last year, which made trips abroad more expensive for ruble earners. The devaluation marked the start of a deep recession that is expected to continue into next year. Many foreign airlines have responded to the slump in demand by scrapping routes to Russia.
According to the Onetwotrip data, the steepest fall in New Year's bookings was for flights to Germany, which plummeted by 68 percent compared to last year. Demand for flights to Austria fell 60 percent, and to Turkey 49 percent.
Meanwhile, holiday bookings to Georgia, the relatively poor former Soviet republic in the south Caucasus, increased by 162 percent compared with last year.