Adriatic hotels count cost of war and sanctions

STORY: Europe’s Adriatic coast should be heaving with holidaymakers over the summer.

But this season may be quieter than usual.

Hoteliers in Croatia, Montenegro and Albania are being hit hard as Russian and Ukrainian tourists cancel their trips.

Russians are being kept away by a ban on commercial flights.

Around 380,000 of them would normally visit Montenegro over the summer, with tourism accounting for some 20% of the country’s economy.

Hotel manager Zarko Radulovic says he’s not expecting many Russians now:

"They will come, but it will be a small crowd compared to how it was previously. They'll arrive via alternate airports, from which they'll be able to depart. Istanbul and Belgrade are the only remaining European airports for them.”

The World Bank last month downgraded Montenegro’s annual growth forecast to 3.6% from 5.9%, due to the impact of the war in Ukraine.

It’s a similar story over in Albania.

Growth forecasts have been cut for it too.

And the worry goes beyond missing travellers from Russia and Ukraine.

Tourism body boss Kliton Gerxhani says people in Germany, Scandinavia and other key markets are also getting jittery about travel to the region:

“There are hesitations coming from these countries to make hotel reservations in Albania. Maybe the tourists of those countries will wait until the last minute whether they want to come or not, depending on the war, because the war is still ongoing."

Tourism businesses in the region had hoped this year would mark a rebound from the health-crisis slump.

Now war in Europe may see those hopes dashed.

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