Spain is preparing to face an upcoming high tourist season without Russian visitors.
The war initiated by Russia in Ukraine and the consequent sanctions, which include the closure of EU airspace to Russian airlines and to any flight to or from Russia, will deprive several Spanish destinations of customers from the Eurasian giant.
The Spanish Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism said in a statement on Friday that "pending the development of the war and its impact on tourist flows in the coming months, the Government of Spain, through (the Spanish Tourism Institute) Turespaña, is working to find alternatives to a possible absence of Russian tourists this high season in our destinations most exposed to this market."
Russian tourists travel mainly to Catalonia, the Mediterranean coastline and the Spanish islands. They usually travel as a family and are highly appreciated by hotel companies and shops due to their high level of spending.
According to data from the National Institute of Statistics, in 2019 (the last good year before the pandemic) more than 1.3 million Russian tourists traveled to Spain.
Spanish luxury shops are likely to notice the sudden absence of wealthy Russian tourists the most this year.
No presence at Moscow tourism fair
Spain also gives up campaigning in Russia to attract tourists from the country this spring. Turespana, which is a body dependent on the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, has decided to cancel its participation in the MITT tourism fair in Moscow, which will be held from March 15 to 17.
Turespaña has been regularly participating in this event, as it is the most important tourism fair in the Russian market. According to the Ministry, the fair constitutes "an important opportunity" for the presentation of Spanish destinations and their tourist offer.
But this year, "as a consequence of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the development of the conflict and Spain's consistency with the sanctions imposed by the European Union," Turespaña has decided to cancel all promotional activity in Russia, including participation in the MITT fair.
Spain, like the rest of EU countries, has condemned the Russian-initiated war, which Madrid describes as an "unjustified and cruel aggression against Ukraine launched by President Putin." The Spanish government demands the withdrawal of all Russian troops from the Ukrainian territory as a condition to lift the sanctions.