Stay at home, traveller: Sanctions against Russia have helped cripple the global tourism industry
International tourism is caught in a perfect storm caused by the simultaneous effect of the sanctions war unleashed against Russia and the associated increase in energy prices. That's added to an uncontrolled ultrasoft monetary policy and the subsequent surge in inflation. Meanwhile, added to the mix are the introduction of visa barriers and the desire to close borders, plus remaining quarantine restrictions in some of the world’s key economies amidst the ongoing spread of viral diseases.In a situation where it seems like things can’t get any worse, numerous experts are increasingly warning that the global economy needs to prepare for difficult times. Given the situation, the simple joy of traveling may soon become a luxury, and international tourism, which has become a mass phenomenon in recent decades, could return to the status of a privilege for the elite.The current geopolitical conflict between Russia and the West has had multiple consequences. Already, the unprecedented sanctions war launched against Moscow has dealt painful blows to the key pillars of modern globalization: International trade and the global financial markets. Trade restrictions against the world’s sixth-largest economy, which is also one of its leading commodity exporters, have spurred a global inflationary spiral. The prices of food, commodities, electricity, and utilities are all rising. Of course, one reason alone can’t account for such a large-scale crisis. The monetary policy of the world’s central banks has also played an important role. The credibility of the modern dollar-centric financial system has been further undermined by the freezing of Moscow’s gold and foreign exchange reserves and the funds of Russian companies and citizens held abroad, as well as the blocking of banks’ foreign assets.At the same time, the growing fragmentation of the world economy is taking place against the backdrop of a new phenomenon – a rupture in human connections.The tourism sector has turned out to be the most sensitive to this. The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has forecast that the number of international trips made by the end of this year may amount to 55-70 percent of the pre-pandemic level of 2019. The industry was still reeling from quarantine restrictions when it was suddenly confronted with new challenges in the form of rising fuel prices and air travel, as well as visa barriers between individual regions.