The Chinese coronavirus has devasted the tourism industry world wide, but no where more than in the Russian Federation. With the borders closed and not likely to fully open any time soon, the Kremlin has begun focusing on domestic tourism for the Russian population; however, tactics used bring back uncomfortable memories of Soviets not being able to leave the country.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova challenged opposition leader Alexei Navalny to a debate over his criticism of Zakharova’s comments on the issue.
Here is what she said (translated):
“People who have money, they are dressed appropriately, they are engaged in some kind of business, they travel by plane, they have such abilities. And people who do not have money, they travel as they can. They travel by hitchhiking, they are dressed appropriately, they do not pretend to be anything, they are ready to sleep, eat, wait, and do so on on the floor, in the car … After quarantine, the tourism industry will change beyond recognition,” assured Maria Zakharova from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“As for the global logistics transport system, it will never be the same for 100%. It will be a completely different system of opportunities: such as trips and staying in the country. I think, of course, what some foreign airlines have done now, namely, the question of taking some kind of blood tests, and so on, before boarding a flight, as you know, our Middle Eastern friends have already implemented it, I think this will become the case — a certain sign of the new age. Access to travel has become a problem for many countries, Zakharova said. The issue (problem) of mass (travel) has risen in front of the world in about the last 15-20 years. That is, people with nothing behind their backs around the world, for them, air transportation has become commonplace.
“Because for this (traveling) you don’t even have to have money sometimes. Sometimes to do this (to travel) you need to have a passport, visa, and maybe even not a visa, but just get into some program, use the option, discount, bonus”. According to Zakharova, only responsible people with connections can travel after the crisis.
“In fact, a foreign trip is a serious, responsible and very risky enterprise. And to make sure everything goes well, a huge number of factors should be set up. And in order to insure yourself, you need to have a considerable amount of money or good connections in some specific areas.
“Any rest will be available only to those people that have no financial problems, Zakharova said. “ You can go on holiday to rest , and in general, you can go only when you have the means to do so. And when something like a mortgage, debt, and so on does not hang over you certainly. So far, until you have not solved your basic needs, if you consider them important for yourself, there is no talk of any vacation, all the more an expensive one and risky one in terms of finances.”
According to Maria Zaharova, we will have to break the habit of going on vacation abroad. “Today, we are faced with a situation when people take holiday not even for the last money, but on credit taking into account existing debts. And they even don’t go on holiday to earn money and solve their problem, but they go just because for them it became the norm of their life. And to give up this sphere of life, they consider it to be absolutely wrong.”
After several attempts at negotiating a debate format, the Ministry of Foreign affairs canceled the debate with Navalny. You can read about it here.
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