Long queues on Abkhaz-Russian checkpoint threatens upcoming tourist season
The queues and visa-related problems on the Psou border checkpoint may create an obstacle to a successful holiday season in Abkhazia in 2017. The president of the Abkhaz Union of Tourism, Anna Kaliyagina, speaks on the issue.
“A solution would be to cancel the visa requirements for tourists,” she believes.
“Tourists enjoy spending their vacations in Abkhazia. But crossing the border just spoils their impressions,” she said.
The upcoming tourist season was discussed at a special meeting by the Public Chamber of Abkhazia. The meeting was very representative –representatives of the Sukhumi administration, the Ministry of Tourism, Traffic Police and the Ministry for Emergency Situations presented their reports and opinions. According to the head of the Abkhaz Union of Tourism, the key reason for the queues is having too few crossing points on the Abkhaz side of the border with Russia.
“Previously, tourist visas were issued in Sukhumi, but now they are issued upon arrival to the border at the Psou River. You will see that this will cause big problems in the end.”
Tourists have to wait at the Russian customs. If there is a similar situation on the Abkhaz side, that would discourage them to visit Abkhazia,” Anna Kaliyagina stated.
Other tourism season-related issues were also discussed at the meeting of the Public Chamber, including the following:
- The work of police and rescue services,
- The attitude to visitors,
- The control of prices and product quality,
- The conditions for crossing the state border,
- The transport quality,
- The state of recreation and entertainment areas.[/yes_list]
Comments from vacationers spending summer 20016 in Abkhazia
Oksana Yarovaya, a housewife from Moscow:
“It’s my third time here. The main problem is that there is a vast devastated area in the city. And of course, the border crossing between Abkhazia and Russia has been unnerving – standing in the queues with my kids is very tough and it would be better if it was removed altogether. But for that to happen it [Abkhazia] has to join Russia.”
Irina Berbish, a teacher from Russia’s autonomous republic Khakasia
“My impressions from Abkhazia are extremely positive.I like the new museums.I enjoy being on the waterfront. I like the beautiful sculptures. Among the downsides is public transport – buses arrive very rarely and they are always full. [We] have to get around by taxi, but for public employees that is costly.”
Olga and Sergey Borisovis from St Petersburg:
“There is great nature, the sea, but the mentality of the local people sucks.”
Anna from Sevastopol:
“I find your people to have a very good sense of humor. I am always smiling when I listen to them. Love cheerful people very much. But there are down sides as well – you tend to be too slow, never seem to be in a hurry. Nobody seems to have to go somewhere.”