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War rains on resorts’ parade as Russians desert their favourite ...


War rains on resorts’ parade as Russians desert their favourite spots

From Thailand to the Maldives to Cuba, Covid-19 and the Ukraine war serve tourist destinations a double whammy

Anurag Kotoky, K Oanh Ha and Nguyen Xuan Quynh

Nha Trang, a beach-blessed resort town in Vietnam, is often dubbed by travel blogs as “Little Russia” — a tribute to high-spending Russians who used to splurge on vodka and borscht while staying in premium properties overlooking the warm sea. A few weeks ago, staff at the picturesque MerPerle Hon Tam Resort were in full swing, preparing to welcome more Russians in March after receiving virtually no foreign travellers for the past two years because of pandemic restrictions.

“Then the war came,” says Tran Bao Doan, the resort’s general manager.

It was a huge blow. MerPerle Hon Tam, which also offers mud bathing and parasailing, had spent almost 1 billion dong (about R645,000) upgrading facilities, buying more mud, planting trees and expanding its restaurant menu. But as the war in Ukraine disrupted flights and countries imposed sanctions that left Russian-issued credit cards useless, many Russians cancelled their trips...

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