2019 summer statistic looks not optimistic for Greece, at least from Russia. According to Heraklion airport information, the number of tourists’ arrivals is 20% lower than during the same period in 2018. Anex Tour has planned less charters to Crete from Moscow from five to three weekly, having the same two flights from Moscow to Rhodes. But tour operator has increased the number of seats on the regular flights base. Mouzenidis Travel cancelled Moscow – Chania charter in the very beginning of the season and decreased the number of flights on route Moscow — Heraklion from twice a day to one, although instead of Airbus A319 and Boeing 737 tourists fly on Airbus A320. Coral Travel had to cancel one charter on the route Moscow-Heraklion on Fridays from 19/07/19. Earlier this operator has also cancelled flights on Moscow – Chania, Samara — Heraklion, S-Petersburg — Rhodes and Rostov-on-Don — Rhodes programs. PR director of the company Marina Makarkova explained that the programs were not loaded well.
Nevertheless, there is another strategy on the market. Tez Tour director for Greece, Dimitris Charitidis says that tour operator has increased the flight program on 10% in general. For Crete the increase is 15%, for Rhodes is 16%. And the maximum growth Tez Tour has got on Peloponess, up to 60%.
What is going on in Russian travel agencies? Here the situation is very different. Moscow agents do fill the lower request for the destination, but it is not critical and that is why Moscow programs are in the better situation. While regional travel managers speak about huge difference between requests for Greece and Turkey. They are shoked with the high prices for deluxe hotels in Greece. All the bookings for this hotels category were mainly made during early booking period. Some of them were cancelled because of the whole programs cancellations in regions as there is no variants for transportation there. The tourists do not want to go from Moscow as they had the experience of flying from the hometown especially to deluxe hotels.
Experts discuss the reasons of Turkey preferences. One of them is the decline in purchasing power of Russians. It is caused by the way the of economic growth in the sectors which can’t give the quick recoil. Vladimir Inozemtzev, the director of the Center of postindustrial society research, considers that the population will not get approximately 6% of budget means this year. That is why the financial opportunities of the population are in total lower. According to the statistic the average salary in Moscow in 2018 is 81 840 rubles (1 160 euros) per month. But this figure in regions differs in times downward. While the family of four persons should pay at least 1 500 euros per week in 5* all inclusive hotel. So, those who can spend money, have already done it during the early booking period, but the whole travelling potential is weaker this summer in Russia. We see the confirmation of this thesis in the numerous requests for 3*- 4* hotels during the season. The statistic of booking services in Russia shows the amount of 35-40 euro as the average daily expenses for the family in August 2019 if the tourists are arranging holidays themselves. This tendency seems to be long lasting.
The other reason is rather high prices for deluxe hotels in Greece. The hoteliers also feel the low request and not only from Russian market. Here the hotel management can say that 24% VAT payments make them powerless to low down the rates. Nevertheless, they do that as one can see unusually big number of special offers for the stay during the “gold time” in July and August. Sometimes tour operators can’t use all special offers, so numerous they are. In such moments tour managers can see the great difference in prices of different tour operators, up to 1 000 euro. That is rather nervous moment for the whole market as every manager is looking for the secure partner first of all and very low price of one tour operator might look dangerous.
Eremeeva Marina, worked more than 17 years in travel agency business, first on the position of sales manager, and later as director and co-owner of «4 Tours», one of the biggest travel agency in Rostov-on-Don (Southern part of Russia). Graduated from Rostov State Pedagogical Institute (Russia) with specialisation in Foreign Languages, and from Rostov Institute of International Economy (Russia) with specialisation in International Economy, Marina is focused on analysis of sales of different destinations from Russia. Recently Marina works in Baginet Sales and Marketing Agency.