Experts: Tourism Dynamics Depend on Real Household Income

15 december 2016

Experts have analyzed the trends in demand for tour operator services in Russia and studied in detail the figures for domestic tourism, Russian tourists going abroad and foreign tourists visiting Russia.

The depreciation of the ruble and restrictions imposed on some of the tourist destinations traditionally popular with Russians have resulted in the ruble prices for foreign tourism services increasing by 37% in 2015 and by another 15% in January through October 2016. As a result the amount of tour operator services being provided fall far more than the amount of other paid services: in September 2016 people were buying a fourth less tour operator services than in 2013. At the same time, some people have started planning their own tours independently, while others are now choosing forms of recreation other than tourism, the experts write in their new bulletin on the current trends in the Russian economy.

According to the Russian tourism service, in 2015 there were registered 50 million tours within the country, which was 20% more than in 2014. At the same time, the experts believe there are several clear problems in the Russian tourism industry, the main of which is a poor quality of the transport, residential and other accompanying infrastructure. Because of this, and despite the people’s choice in favor of domestically travel, experts forecast that tourists will return to the Turkish and Egyptian resorts in 2017.

In 2013, the number of foreign tours the Russians went on reached 37 trips per 100 people, which was significantly higher than in, for example, Mexico, Turkey, Brazil and the US. In 2014, Russians made 42.9 million trips abroad but in 2015 that number dropped to 34.4 million. The tourist flow dropped regarding the following countries: Thailand (-46.0%), Greece (-45.6%), Spain (-39.2%) and the UAE (-36.0%). Analysts say the sharp drop in foreign travel resulted from a sharp decrease in the population purchasing power. In the meantime, the decrease in travel to Ukraine (-35.2%), Egypt (-22.1%), and Turkey (-17.9%) are primarily influenced by geopolitical problems, the experts note.

In the 6 months of 2016 the number of foreign trips made by Russians fell by a further 13.1% in per year terms. Turkey and Egypt saw the largest falls in the number of the Russian tourists. The first half-year 2016 saw Russian tourists switching to cheaper and safer destinations such as Cyprus (+49.2%), China (+44.9%) and Thailand (+24.2%).

The authors of the report note that in terms of the number of tourists travelling abroad Russia is among the top ten nations. The top 25 countries in terms of trips to Russia include almost all the CIS countries and the Baltic nations. As for countries from outside the former USSR, here the leaders are Poland, Finland, China and Germany. At the same time, the number of trips by foreigners to Russia has been rising in recent years, however, its increase is going to be limited in the future by the lack of the quality recreation infrastructure, the experts believe.

For more see the bulletin Trends in the Demand for Tour Operator Services in Russia

For other issues of our bulletin on current trends in the global economy see Publications.