Russian media continue to report that large numbers of Ukrainians are vacationing in occupied Crimea. Crimean First deputy prime minister told RIA Novosti that “Crimean border crossings had to increase the number of personnel manning posts because of the flood of vacationers from Ukraine”.
Deputy speaker of the Crimean parliament Andrey Kozenko also claimed that some 120,000 Ukrainians had already visited Crimea, comprising 10% of the overall number of tourists visiting the occupied peninsula.
Russian publication Ukraina.ru added its voice to the mass tourism claims announcing that Ukrainian visitors were helping Crimea establish a 25 year tourism record.
Ukrainian border guards report that with the onset of summer the number of people from the Ukrainian mainland entering Crimea has increased, but compared with this time period last year, less Ukrainians are entering the peninsula reports the site Crimea realities.
Ukrainian tour companies challenge the tourism figures presented by Crimean Tourism Ministry who claim that 160,000 Ukrainians vacationed in Crimea during May. According to the Ukrainian Hospitality Association, that number was only 35,000 reports Crimea realities
Former Crimean tourism minister Alexander Liev also dismisses Russian claims of mass Ukrainian tourism to the annexed peninsula. He predicts that a maximum of 1.7 million people can visit Crimea this year and 99% of those visitors will come from Russia, the number of vacationers from mainland Ukraine will not exceed 0.6%.
Ukrainians are not eager to visit Crimea because of safety concerns, transportation issues and an overall feeling of patriotism. Web cameras throughout Crimea show that the peninsula’s beaches and popular vacations spots are largely empty.