In 2014, Russian Travel Industry Stated Decrease on All Mass Destinations
Winter Season 2014
RBK collected and analyzed available foreign statistics of arrivals of Russian tourists in November and December 2014. The results were rather predictable. The number of Russians, who travelled abroad, has been gradually dropped down on all mass destinations where tourists’ flow from Russia was not less than one thousand people.
In December 2014, the increase was stated only by three destinations. The number of Russians, who travelled to Vietnam in the last month of 2014, has been increased by 1 per cent till 34.5 thousand people (according to data from Ministry of tourism of Vietnam). South Korea was visited by more than 10 thousand Russians, which is by 34 per cent more than in December 2013 (according to data from tourism office of Vietnam). The tourists’ flow to Sri-Lanka increased in December 2014 by 7 per cent till 9.3 thousand people (according to data of Tourism department of Sri-Lanka).
But already in January 2015, even these destinations stated decrease: Vietnam – by 29 per cent till 34.7 thousand Russians, South Korea – by 5 per cent till 9.6 thousand, Sri-Lanka – by 14 per cent till 9.2 thousand.
In December 2014, the most popular winter destination Egypt (after increase of Russian tourists in November 2014 by 24 per cent till 310.2 thousand people), noted decrease by 12% till 199.5 thousand Russians (according to data of agency of Arabic Republic of Egypt).
Among excursion destinations the biggest decrease has been stated for Finland. In December 2014, the number of Russians who stayed in Finnish hotels, decreased twice till 26.2 thousand people. As a result of it, in December 2014, Finland comes down to 5-th position after Germany (67.5 thousand people, minus 23 per cent to December 2013), Czech (44.8 per cent, minus 38 per cent), Austria (38.4 thousand people, minus 31 per cent), and Spain (33.9 thousand people, minus 28 per cent) in comparison to December 2013, when Finland was the second top destination for Russians after Germany.
In some way, such decrease on Finnish destination can be result of collapse of tourism market of Saint-Petersburg. In last summer season, the major tour operators from Northwest of Russia (Neva, Versa, Solvex-Turne) admitted their financial inability, for whom Finland was one of key destinations.
The report of Department of Statistics of Austria for December 2014 stated that not only the number of general tourists but also the number of ski travelers has decreased. The number of Russians, visited Salzburg and Tirol, where are the main ski resorts, diminished in December 2014 by 32 per cent till 5.8 thousand people and by 27 per cent till 10.2 thousand people.
Summer Season 2014
On the most popular summer destination, Turkey, the growth of Russian tourists’ flow was observed during whole season. In June increase was by 17 per cent till 805.6 thousand people, in July by 20 per cent till the same 805.3 thousand, in August by 6 per cent till 776.6 thousand.
The number of Russians who have chosen Turkey for their summer holidays is so large that even low increase on that destination compensated losses on other destinations. On the second largest summer destination, Greece, the increase in June 2014 was by 2 per cent till 236.5 thousand Russians4 in July 2014 by 9 per cent till 293.8 thousand. The decrease of Russian tourists’ flow to Greece was only in August (by 21 per cent till 252 thousand Russians) when tour operator Labirint announced about its financial inability. It was the biggest player for Greece on the Russian travel market.
However, Russian tour operators take notice that statistics out foreign sources give an idea only about general tourists’ flow where a part of individual travelers becomes bigger each year. The volumes in general do not get down, but the volumes generated by tour operators dropped down every year, - Vladimir Vorobiev, the President of Natali Tours said.
Reasons and Prices
The main reason of decrease of tourists’ flow for winter 2014 was obvious. Traveling abroad became expensive. In November 2013, $1 cost 32.08 rubles, €1 – 43.94 rubles; one year ago, $1 already cost 41.96 rubles (plus 31 per cent), €1 – 52.72 (plus 20 per cent). For 31-st of December 2014, yearly dynamics was even more significant, US dollar got up by 72 per cent till 56.26 rubles, euro - by 52 per cent till 68.34 rubles.
Therefore, tour packages, which price is determined by cost of transportation and accommodation in foreign currency, became also more expensive. According to information of Management Company of Goryachie Tury Chain of Travel Agencies, standard tour package to Egypt for one person for one week with departure in December cost in average 26.8 thousand rubles, which is 37 per cent more than in similar period of the last year. Standard tour package to Thailand became more expensive by 19 per cent, in average till 43.6 thousand rubles, to Vietnam – by 29 per cent till 47.9 thousand rubles, to India – by 36 per cent till 40.6 thousand rubles, to Czech – 36 per cent till 33.2 thousand rubles.
Although, Goryachie Tury have noted reduction of prices for tour packages for some destinations, which can be result of excess of supply and the willingness of tour operators to sell package below cost to get back at least part of expenses for air flights. A standard tour package to Dominican Republic became less expensive by 8 per cent till 67.3 thousand rubles, to UAE – by 31% till 31.9 thousand rubles.
However, the total number of Russian tourists, visited Dominican Republic in December 2014 (according to data of its tourism department) decreased by 36 per cent till 14.5 thousand Russians.
The Executive Director of ATOR (Association of Tour Operators of Russia) Maia Lomidze sees no reasons for changing of negative dynamics. In her words, traditional start of early booking sales allows to expect in a best way the same number of tourists to Turkey, 10 – 20 per cent decrease for Egypt, and 30 – 40 per cent for all other destinations.