A weak ruble might have hit tourism to Dubai, but for those travelling the other way, great value awaits
It’s no secret the summer of 2015 has been a tough season for Dubai’s hotels. Low occupancy rates and revenue are the result of several factors – greater supply of rooms, an earlier Ramadan – but it’s the Russian tourists who have been most notable by their absence. And it’s not just the city’s hotels that have felt it. According to a report by commercial property analyst JLL, Dubai’s retail sector also experienced a slowdown, with typically high-spending Russian visitors put off holidays to the UAE by a decline in the ruble against the dollar.
But it’s not all doom and gloom – or at least not if you’re living and earning in the dollar-pegged Emirates. Travellers have already been taking advantage of cheaper flights, hotels and tours in the vast, continent-crossing and at times controversial nation since the ruble began its long decline late last year. So much so that the country saw a 16 percent rise in foreign tourists in the first quarter of 2015.
As the world’s largest nation, however – with no fewer than nine time zones to its name – value for money is only part of the reason it’s worth looking at for your holiday. St Petersburg is arguably its most striking city, but Moscow, the capital, is home to an impressive meeting of modern skylines and historic monuments. Here you’ll find the impressive Red Square alongside a thriving, edgy nightlife scene. Want to see more than just one of those time zones? Take an unforgettable trip on the world-famous Trans-Siberian Railway.
A direct flight on flydubai on a Thursday this October will set you back a little over Dhs1,000. Why wait for the ruble to rebound?
It’d be criminal not to visit one of Russia’s most famous theatres and oldest ballet companies. It also hosts operas. www.bolshoi.ru/en.
Today, the capital is almost as well-known for its club scene as it is for its relationship with classical music and performances. This tiny but extravagant private club is a haven for techno. www.facebook.com/vanillaninjaclub.
Perhaps one of the country’s most recognisable landmarks, the Kremlin is host to a museum complex that includes the Armoury Chamber, Ivan the Great Bell Tower, Cathedral Square and more. A good one-stop shop if you’ve only got one day to hit history. www.kreml.ru/en.