Russia’s Black Sea coastal resorts including Sochi will require visiting tourists to vaccinate against the coronavirus within three days of arrival, regional authorities announced Friday as infections spiked and Russians canceled bookings en masse over the new rules and newly opened foreign destinations.
The new rules revised previously announced requirements, which take effect Aug. 1, for Krasnodar region hotels and guest houses to only accept tourists who present a vaccine certificate. This month, the region’s sanatoriums, hotels and summer camps are only allowed to welcome vaccinated tourists or those with a negative PCR test.
“Starting Aug. 1, tourists will be able to come to resorts with a negative PCR test but would have to be vaccinated within three days,” Kondratyev wrote on social media.
“We’ve recorded an increase in coronavirus infections over the past two weeks: the 214 new cases confirmed on July 5 is an all-time high since the beginning of the pandemic. In the deteriorating epidemic situation, especially with a continuing holiday season, vaccination comes to the fore,” he said.
Kondratyev’s announcement comes as tour operators complain of “stunning” numbers of cancellations and a drop in new bookings in the Krasnodar region for July and August.
The mass cancellations coincided with Kondratyev’s original announcement of vaccination rules and Russia resuming flights to Turkey, a popular holiday destination for Russians, last month.
Kondratyev did not specify which, if any, penalties would be imposed on tourists who do not vaccinate within the 72-hour period.
He added that the Krasnodar region placed a request for 300,000 doses to accommodate an expected increase in demand and vowed to add new vaccination centers to the currently operating 74 facilities.
Krasodar is among several Russian regions, including Moscow and St. Petersburg, to introduce compulsory vaccination for specific categories of people and refuse certain services to unvaccinated customers as the country battles surging Covid-19 infections and deaths.
Authorities in Sochi, the Krasnodar region's main vacation hub, recently announced they will open the city's first "Covid-free" beach only accessible to those who have been vaccinated, have recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months or have negative PCR test results.