Russian Travel Digest analyses results of 2018 in tourism industry in Russia
General results of 2018
According to the Border Service of the Federal Security Service of Russia, the total outbound tourist flow from the Russian Federation over three quarters of 2018 increased on a year-on-year basis by 6.45%, and the number of trips to foreign countries - by 7.34%. A number of destinations showed robust growth rates.
According to the results of three quarters of 2018, for the period from January to September 2018 the Russians made 34,855,313 trips to foreign countries. This is 6.45% more than indicators for the same period in 2017.
But the growth rates, however, as expected earlier, were lower than last year’s ones. Recall that the increase in the number of Russian trips abroad in the first three quarters of 2017 amounted 24.14% compared to the same period of 2016. This year the growth rate of tourist flow dropped by more than 4 times.
A significant decline in growth rates is explained primarily by a combination of three main factors: the effect of low base (2016 was a failure for outbound tourism), the lack of growth in real disposable incomes of the population in 2018 and a serious weakening of the ruble exchange rate since spring 2018.
The undisputed leader in the number of departures, in the overall rating and in the ranking of foreign destinations for the first three quarters of 2018, as well as last year, is Turkey - 5,053,594 trips. The share of this country in the total number of Russian trips abroad is 14.5.
According to the data of the Border Guard Service of the Federal Security Service of Russia, the TOP-10 of 2018 includes:
Turkey (5,054 million trips), + 25.5% compared for the three quarters of last year;
Germany (1.035 million), + 4%;
Italy (912.6 thousand), + 19.8%;
Spain (851.4 thousand), + 2.14%;
Thailand (829.2 thousand), + 12.5%;
Greece (776 thousand), - 5.3%;
Cyprus (727 thousand), - 5.7%;
The UAE (661.6 thousand), + 42.5%;
Tunisia (576.2 thousand), + 21.8%;
Bulgaria (435.2 thousand), - 9.8%.
Behind them are such countries as: Vietnam, France, the Czech Republic, Israel, Montenegro, South Korea, the United Kingdom, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
In 2018, air lines were rather active in launching new flights. On contrary, tour operators were more calm in establishing new routes. In total, there were launched new 24 regular routes and more than 12 new charter programs.
ANEX Tour significantly expanded its Vietnamese flight program. This season represents the Nha Trang, Fukuok, Phanrang and Phan Thiet. AZR Air Routes from Cam Ranh (from Nha Trang) from 21 cities to Fukuok and from 6 cities from Moscow (Moscow, Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk, Khabarovsk) and Yekaterinburg). The ANEX Tour Program will last from October to March. Anex Tour, Moscow - Cancun, since October 23.
The following tour operators organised new charter programs to such destinations, as: PEGAS Touristik, Moscow -Aqaba (Jordan), from October 17; Coral Travel, Moscow -Aqaba (Jordan), from October 28; TUI Russia, Moscow - Uvda (Israel), since October 28; ANEX Tour, Moscow - Punta Cana, St. Petersburg -La Romana, since October; PEGAS Touristik, Moscow - Punta Cana, Puerto Plata, Samana and Santo Domingo; Biblio-Globus, Moscow - Goa, since October 3; Biblio-Globus, Moscow-Phuket, since October; ANEX Tour, from 20 cities of Russia (including Moscow) to UAE, since September; Pegas Touristik, Moscow - Jamaica (Montego Bay), since October 26, TUI Russia, Moscow - Phuket, from October 17.
In 2018, the following new routes were established by regular air lines.
Moscow - Eindhoven (Netherlands), Airline Pobeda (from December 21, 2018)
Moscow - Danang, Airline Qatar Airways (from December 19, 2018).
Moscow - Salzburg, Airline Pobeda (from December 2018).
Moscow - Cam Ranh (Nyachang, Vietnam), Airlines Azur Air, Nordwind (from November 9, 2018).
Moscow - Punta Cana (Dominican Republic), Airlines Azur Air, Nordwind (from November 8, 2018).
Moscow - Cancun, Airline Nordwind (from October 2018).
Moscow - Gothenburg, Airline Aeroflot (from October 28, 2018).
Moscow - Colombo, Airline Aeroflot (from October 28, 2018).
Moscow - Bali, Airline Aeroflot (from October 28, 2018).
Moscow - Palermo, Airline Pobeda (from October 6, 2018).
Moscow - Helsinki, Airline Pobeda (from October 5, 2018).
St. Petersburg - Varadero (Cuba), Airline Azur Air (from November 17, 2018).
St. Petersburg - Alicante, S7 Airlines (from October 28, 2018).
St. Petersburg - Istanbul, Airline Pobeda (from October 28, 2018).
St. Petersburg - Milan, Airline Pobeda (from October 11, 2018).
Novosibirsk - Cam Ranh (Nyachang, Vietnam), S7 airline (from December 2018).
Novosibirsk - Pattaya, Royal Flight Airline (from October 28, 2018).
Ekaterinburg - Munich, Ural Airlines (from December 29, 2018).
Ekaterinburg - Eilat, Nordwind Airlines (from December 28, 2018).
Ekaterinburg - Nha Trang, Royal Flight Airline (from October 29, 2018).
Ekaterinburg - Phuket, Royal Flight Airline (from October 29, 2018).
Irkutsk - Guangzhou, S7 airline (from December 14, 2018).
Irkutsk - Cam Ranh (Nha Trang, Vietnam), S7 Airlines (from November 28, 2018).
Khabarovsk - Daegu (South Korea), Airline T’Way Air (from July 3, 2018).
Bankruptcy of tour operators in Russia
In 2018, due to the inability to fulfil their obligations, the following tour operators were closed or were on the verge of closing:
• June 10, 2018 the tour operator Raduga Travel reported about the termination of its activities (the Rainbow Travel Center)
• June 15, 2018 the tour operator Polar Tour ceased its operations.
• On June 22, 2018, the tour operator Matryoshka Tour was closed.
• On June 25, 2018, the Premium Travel Group tour operator ceased operations.
• On June 30, 2018, Aurora BG faced problems and suspended charter programs to Bulgaria and Montenegro.
• On July 3, 2018, DSBW Tours, a major and one of the oldest tour operators in Russia, which has worked since 1991, was closed.
• On July 4, 2018, Natalie Tours, the largest tour operator, canceled all confirmed tours, after which the media reported on the desire of Natalie Tours owners to sell the company. On June 29, Natalie Tours closed charter programs to 4 countries: Spain, Italy, Greece and Turkey. And on July 3, the clients of Natalie Tours faced problems during departure, transfer and check-in to hotels in these countries.
• Perl River tour operator was opened in September 2017 in Russia. In the autumn 2017 many tourists were affected by the bankruptcy situation with VimAvia Airlines, on the boards of which were planned the flights to Hainan of this tour operator. In December 2018, the tour operator faced the problems with the returning of its tourists from China. The Association Tourist Aid and other authorities of the two countries joined efforts to return tourists to Russia. In total, 2,709 tourists were transported back from more than 10 cities in Russia. As of December 24, 2018, there were no tourists left on Hainan Island.
Incoming tourism to Russia
Analytical agency TurStat summed up the year and made a rating of inbound tourism in Russia for 2018 (the period from January 1 to September 30, 2018). According to the agency, the flow of tourists to Russia has grown thanks to the football World Cup 2018.
Mostly tourists came from the countries of Southeast Asia, the USA and EU. According to the analytical agency TurStat, in general, for the period from January to September 2018 the number of foreign tourists in Russia increased by 1.4% - up to 1 million 245 thousand. The leaders on arrival in Russia for 9 months are:
1. China (1.4 million),
2. South Korea (291 thousand),
3. Japan (87 thousand),
4. India (71 thousand),
5. Vietnam (43 thousand),
6. Thailand (39 thousand).
The high rate of arrival in Russia also shows: the USA (300 thousand trips, + 19%), the United Kingdom (174 thousand, + 14%), Canada (54 thousand, + 17%) and Australia (62 thousand, + 48%).