The uncertainty caused by the pandemic cut Moldovans’ élan to rest abroad. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the number of persons who traveled through travel agencies in 2020 decreased by 76% compared with 2019. Respectively, early booking that could ensure discounts of up to 50% for the summer vacation declined drastically this year, tourism manager Natalia Ternovetskaya stated for IPN.
Until 2020, winter was the most suitable period for planning a summer vacation and benefiting from discounts. Many of those who booked tickets last winter didn’t go abroad owing to the travel restrictions imposed in Moldova and the countries of destination in connection with the pandemic. As a result, not many risked booking this year, only about 10% of the tourists.
The situation improved in January as the vaccination process started in the world and hope that the situation will change until summer appeared. Also, many countries formulated attractive offers. “It was an advantage concerning prices. For example, for the Maldives such low prices have never been provided, with discounts of almost 50%. Turkey also had attractive offers in January and February, including free accommodation for children,” said Natalia Ternovetskaya.
The offers diversified in spring, after many countries relaxed the restrictions. There is yet a lot of uncertainty as things change daily depending on the pandemic situation. Respectively, the prices also change every day. The prices for Egypt increase because they plan to open the market to Russia. As the demand grows, prices also rise.
For instance, the price of a seven-day vacation in Turkey or Egypt starts from €200 per person, while for Bulgaria from €70, depending on the period, hotel and type of service. But the prices are expected to rise owing to last year’s re-booking as some of the hotels no longer have available places. “We solved many of the cases last year. The tourists travelled and used the paid advance. Others will yet use the advance. There are solutions,” said the tourism manager.
Despite the restrictive conditions, there were Moldovans who risked and went on vacation after many countries opened the borders to tourists. “Our statistics showed Turkey was the key destination as this country lifted the obligation to do tests. It was followed by Egypt, less Romania, Ukraine, Dubai. In winter, the borders were opened by Romania, Ukraine, Switzerland,” stated Natalia Ternovetskaya.
The data of the National Bureau of Statistics confirm such a situation. According to them, of the 74,700 Moldovans who traveled in 2020, 57.4% of those who went abroad visited Turkey, 17.8% - Egypt, 7.9% - Romania, 5.1% - Bulgaria, 3.9% - Ukraine, by 0.8% - the United Arab Emirates and Greece. The tour operators last year earned 782.8 million lei, which is 31.2% of the 2019 revenues. The revenues in outbound tourism declined by 68.6% on 2019.