Crimea's Days as a Travel Destination Over?
By Neal Broverman
As Crimea splits from Ukraine and gets ready to join Russia, the tourist-friendly peninsula is already feeling the pinch as Western tourists cancel trips in droves.
Tourist season is just a month away in Crimea, called a "vacation playground" by The New York Times. The paper reports that in the sunny resort city of Yalta, ATMs don't have money as most of the banks in Crimea are based in Ukraine. Electricity and water are also shipped in via Ukraine, though that nation is not threatening to cut those necessities off.
Crimea depends heavily on tourism, as well as money from Ukraine. Moscow is claiming they will step in and fill the gap left by Kiev.
Crimea has been a vacation spot for Russians since czarist days, but Ukrainians and Westerners also flocked to the peninsula and its blue waters. The owner of a small travel business in Yalta said many Ukrainians will skip Crimean vacations because of the political instability and he's already dealt with numerous cancellations from Europeans.
"I got 10 requests from German, and 10 assignments from Ukrainian agencies for Western tourists; a couple of requests from Dutch tourists and cruise ships," the man told the Times. "At the moment, all of them, absolutely all of them, are canceled."
For LGBT travelers, Crimea being part of antigay Russia is another deterrent to visiting.