This is happening just as Russian outbound tourist departures are booming, and ironically Europe is a big beneficiary of it. Sadly Russia remains paranoid about free travel within its giant environs.
A significant drop in the number of incoming tourists in Russia has been recorded. Last year, the number of tourists from Europe declined by 10 to 30 percent…and this year will decrease by 50%.
Tour operators..[say] decline in the number of French tourists of 8%, of Spanish tourists of 30%, of Estonian and Italian tourists of 10%, of Finnish tourists of 10 to 15 %, and..German tourists of 15%.
The main reason for the drop…is the fact that it is now much more difficult for tourists to apply for Russian visas. Beginning in mid-2012, new rules were introduced that complicated the visa application process significantly.