Ban on Russian tourists in the EU will cost €21 billion in losses
Sanctions imposed on Russia are expected to hurt the EU economy far more than the Russian one.
The EU will lose around €21 billion ($20.97 billion) if it bars Russian tourists from entering the bloc, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin wrote on his official Telegram channel on Thursday, commenting on what he called “the frenzy of proposals to ban our citizens from entering the EU continues.”
“According to the most conservative estimates, Europe is going to lose €21 billion because of restrictions on the entry of our citizens. By drawing an iron curtain around their countries, they punish themselves because of their own stupidity and ignorance,” Volodin stated.
According to the official, 80% of the world’s population does not support the sanctions against Moscow, which means Russian tourists have a myriad of places to visit outside the EU. Moreover, he suggests that Russia’s own tourism infrastructure should be developed to accommodate domestic travel.
“We have a huge number of beautiful places. Everything should be done to create conditions for travel and recreation in our country,” he said.
In early August, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky mused that the Russians should “live in their own world until they change their philosophy,” and urged the West to refuse entry to Russian tourists. Moscow responded by saying that such proposals would only have a negative effect on all involved and called the measure “discriminatory.”
On August 9, the Kremlin said that Zelensky's proposal to ban all Russians from visiting Western countries was "out of the charts" and viewed "extremely negatively" by Moscow.
Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said "the irrationality of thinking, in this case, is off the charts," adding that "this can only be viewed extremely negatively."
"Any attempt to isolate Russians or Russia is a process that has no prospects," Peskov considered.
The spokesperson recalled events in the run-up to and during World War II, saying that "in their unfriendliness, many of these countries slip into forgetfulness."
"And they resort to statements that we heard from several EU countries in the center of Europe 80 years ago," Peskov indicated.
However, a number of EU nations later expressed support for Zelensky’s proposal. An informal meeting of EU foreign ministers is scheduled for the end of August when they will discuss the possibility of introducing visa restrictions for Russian tourists, European Commission representative Anita Hipper said last week.
Some countries have recently sought to ban all Russians from entering the Schengen territory.
Calls have been mounting for the European Commission to ban Russian tourists from entering the EU’s borderless area over the war in Ukraine.
France and Germany have so far refused to back Baltic and some central EU states on their initiative citing the freedom of travel principle.
The issue will be on the agenda of the upcoming informal EU ministerial meeting that will take place in Prague on August 30-31.