Subtleties of the purse: tourism decrease in Russia

Author : Safron Holikov

Outbound tourist flow has decreased over the summer by 25-30%
17:15, 26 August 2016

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Sales of the organized tours abroad in the summer season decreased by 25-30%, according to the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR). According to the executive director of the organization Maya Lomidze, the situation can be improved by good sales in a velvet season, but these changes would not be global. Anex Tour company says that sales remained at the same level as in last year, but at the same time, departures from the regions have reduced.

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The international downturn

This is the third summer season in which tour operators fix record drop in sales. The first disaster for the market began in 2014; sales fell 30% on the background of a sharp devaluation of the ruble and the massive bankruptcies of travel agencies.

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Analogous results were in 2015, because the incomes of Russians decreased. According to Rosstat, in the first half of the year, real disposable incomes fell by 5%. The fall of tourist flow is also caused by some negative news background, formed in the last year after reports of attacks and plane crashes.

The poor results of the season might be connected with a constant increase of Russians who are restricted to travel abroad. Even in 2015, there were approximately 5 million people, most of them were security forces and their families. Today, almost all state employees are not recommended to travel abroad. Another problem was the moratorium on the sale of tours to Egypt and Turkey, introduced late last year after the collapse of the Russian plane over the Sinai Peninsula and the sharp aggravation of relations between Moscow and Ankara. Restrictions on the Turkish direction were taken at the end of June 2016, but tour operators never managed to regain the lost stream. According to the "Online Tour" company 12-14% of the travel requests account for Turkey, while the previous year this proportion was 35-40%. The main problem is the lack of charter: the packages are formed on the basis of scheduled flights, and the tour price increases by 30-40%.

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Trying to get out of the situation, tour operators have relied on the promotion of alternative destinations. So, Anex Tour indicates that trips to Tunisia, the Dominican Republic, Thailand, Spain and Bulgaria have increased. These areas, according to the tour operator representative, eventually became leaders of sales. Tez Tour states that Greece is in the first place, then come Spain and Cyprus. TUI company notes that 20% of sales account for Cyprus and Russia, the share of Montenegro is 17%, Spain - 14%. demonstrate other calculations: the leader of the demand is Russia, 37% of tours sold, Tunisia - 11.6%, Greece - 10.9%, Cyprus - 6.8%, and Bulgaria - 6.3%.

Inner perspectives

For the third consecutive year, one of the sources of sales growth is domestic Russian destinations. According to Maya Lomidze, sales of the tour operators in this segment grow more noticeably than a separate stream increases. Director for STC Sales "Intourist" Sergei Tolchin notes that due to the increase of the charter program the number of tours in Crimea has increased two and a half times, ten times in Sochi, and seven times in Anapa.

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However, the general director of "Dolphin" tour operator Sergei Romachkin underlines the short-term nature of this increase. "In the domestic market, 70% of tourists traditionally travel independently. The customers who used to travel to Europe, Egypt, and Turkey, decided to reorient to Russia,” he explained.

The tour operators of the domestic market have forecasted a sharp increase in the demand in 2017, today we see only minor seasonal variations though. One of the factors of reducing the growth rate could be higher prices, caused by inflation. Increase in the demand depends on the resumption of programs in Turkey and Egypt.

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