Recreation centre in Sukhumi. Photo: press service of the Ministry of Tourism of Abkhazia, https://kurort-pitsunda.org/

23 July 2020, 18:12

In Abkhazia, hotel owners lose earnings because of closed border

No tourists come to Abkhazia because of the closed border with Russia. According to local residents working in the tourism sector, they found themselves on the brink of survival.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on April 8, Abkhazia closed the border with Russia, with an exception made for soldiers and officers, diplomats, and truck drivers.

If the border with Russia is not opened in the nearest future, then many residents of Abkhazia will have nothing to live on. For them, services for tourists were actually the only way to earn money, residents of Abkhazia told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent on July 22.

In particular, since the Soviet era times, the family of Larisa Lakerbaya, a resident of Sukhumi, used to live on the income from renting out rooms to tourists. "My mother's Russian pension of 10,000 roubles is all our income now. To be honest, the people in Abkhazia have already been driven to despair," the woman from Sukhumi told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent about the situation.

Arthur Bartsyts, a resident of Gagra, took out a loan from a Russian bank to expand his guest house. Now he is not able to pay monthly instalments, since no tourists have come to the republic, and the man lost earnings.

"The bank has calculated penalties already, and they are about to sue me. We all are unlikely to die of COVID-19, but with the higher possibility, we will die from hunger, debts, and depression. We have nothing at all in Gagra except tourism," the man expressed his indignation.

He criticized the position of the Abkhaz authorities during the pandemic. "Well, they closed the borders tightly, stopped COVID-19. Should we now stay in complete isolation to the end of time, until everything ends? It's just cannot take place. There is no Abkhaz economy anymore, it has died," said Arthur Bartsyts.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on July 23, 2020 at 11:03 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Anna Gritsevich; Source: CK correspondent

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