A hotel in Vietnam’s ‘Little Russia’ underwent a $44,000 renovation but guests canceled
- A hotel in Vietnam has spent thousands of euros improving facilities for Russian visitors, who never show up.
- A manager of the hotel, which is located in a city nicknamed “Little Russia”, blamed the war.
- The absence of Russian visitors has affected the hotel’s ability to pay staff, Bloomberg reported.
A five-star hotel in Vietnam spent thousands of dollars improving facilities for its Russian visitors, but had them canceled due to the country’s war with Ukraine.
The hotel, MerPerle Hon Tam Resort, is based in Nha Trang, a city often labeled “Little Russia”, due to the number of Russian visitors it receives each year, according to Bloomberg.
“This is something that no tourism official can anticipate,” said Tran Bao Doan, general manager of the hotel.
MerPerle Hon Tam Resort has already felt the ruthless effects of the pandemic over the past two years, according to the outlet, as the tourism industry has been hit hard by government-mandated closures.
According to a forecast by the World Travel and Tourism Council, nearly 200 million jobs in the travel industry are set to disappear due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the world’s largest tourism company, TUI, reported that bookings fell 81% in Europe from June 2020 to early August, compared to the same period in 2019, according to CNN.
The resort had high hopes, however, as travel resumes with the relaxation of COVID-19 regulations.
Doan said the hotel spent nearly $44,000 improving guest facilities to prepare for its Russian visitors. He bought more mud for mud bath facilities, planted trees and diversified his restaurant menu, Bloomberg reported.
This was apparently for nothing, however, as many Russian visitors failed to show up after their country invaded Ukraine.
Travel and spending have been made especially difficult for Russians due to foreign-imposed sanctions. Aeroflot, Russia’s flagship airline, for example, recently announced that it was suspending all international flights, due to high risks of foreign-leased planes being seized as a result of the sanctions.
The sanctions also prevented Russian residents from using their credit or debit cards abroad. Recently, the Central Bank of Russia said that customers of sanctioned banks cannot use Apple and Google Pay services.
Credit card companies, as well as governments, have also taken a stand against Russia, preventing Russians from spending their money. Last month, Visa, Mastercard and American Express announced they would suspend operations in Russia to act in accordance with Western sanctions.
According to Doan, about half of the hotel’s guests were Russians before the pandemic hit. “Then the war came,” he told Bloomberg. “Such a drop in revenue affects our ability to pay staff and maintenance costs.”
The absence of many Russian tourists was also felt in Thailand. In January, Russia accounted for 17% of international arrivals to Phuket.
A Thailand-based business owner told Insider’s Lina Batarags that his friends in the hospitality industry, based on the island, said they had seen tourist numbers drop by 20% since the war began. The majority of those tourists were Russian, or at least Russian-speaking, he said.