Russians Will Stay for May Holidays at Home or on Dacha
The number of charter programs this year was diminished by 50 per cent, at the same time the volume of transportation for May holidays fell down by 30 per cent, according to data of Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR). Tour operators significantly reduced number of flights even to popular destinations. This year less charter flights are planned to Egypt, Spain, and Thailand. Buying tours to exotic destinations, tourists will change charters to regular flights which will make tour packages more expensive.
This year tour operators decided keeping only the most popular and win-win destinations, including Egypt, Turkey, summer Bulgaria, Greece and Spain.
The biggest demand for May holidays this year is not so much for budget destinations, as for budget tour packages with cheapest accommodation and minimum excursions, - Maia Lomidze said.
Egypt as before is top destination for that period, since low price is combined with good weather. However, less Russians will visit Egypt this year. To optimize their charter flights in January, TUI decided to consolidate with Pegas Touristik and to share one flight of Nord Wind to Sharm el-Sheikh. Tez Tour also reduced charter program to Egypt and cancelled the flights to Sharm el-Sheikh from Saint Petersburg from end of January till middle of March 2015.
In 2015, the number of tour operators who organized charter flights to Tenerife, diminished from seven to two companies. TUI, Coral Travel, Anex Tour, Tez Tour, and Pegas Touristik cancelled their programs, so only tour packages of Vam-Tour and Natali Tours will be available for Russian tourists. TUI also cancelled their charter program to Ibiza.
Some tour operators hope that Russians would still travel to Greece this year. For example, Anex Tour decided, rather to fly to Greece instead to Tenerife. This year Anex Tour has charter programs to Greece from 11 Russian cities.
Regular Flights To Exotic Destinations
In the last five years, the Caribbean destination grew in high gear, Russian tourists fall in love with beaches of Cuba, Dominican Republic, later of Mexico and even Jamaica. Because of high demand, Pegas Touristik has even organized charter flights to Punta-Kana, which the company cancelled this year.
Because of increased currency exchange rate, cost-effectiveness of exotic destinations fell down, and tour operators decided to refuse of charters. Although, they did not cancel their programs, since high-income tourists who only could afford exotic tours, can pay for these tours even in crisis.
Therefore, many tour operators blocked seats on regular flights. Many air companies doing regular flights to exotic destinations even offered them allotments to keep the number of passengers.
In 2014, Tez Tour organized tours to Thailand with charter flights of IFly, in 2015 – on regular flights of Aeroflot. Pegas Touristik decided to keep the same program to Phuket from 12 cities of Russia, but to diminish the program to Bangkok from 10 Russian cities instead of 15.
Pegas Touristik kept its charter program to Vietnam, as well as Anex Tours who kept charters to Vietnam from Barnaul, Blagoveshchensk, Vladivostok, Irkutsk, and Moscow.
Tour operators forecast that charter flights would have lower demand in the nearest two years. That is why many tour companies prefer not to open any new destinations or to damp or to start any lossmaking charter programs.
Yury Mishchenko, graduated from Moscow Institute of Foreign Languages, has more than 15 years experience in tourism and travel. Working both in tour operator company as destination manager, and in travel agency as sales manager, he is focused on analysis of Russian tour operators’ daily routine. Recently, Yury works in Baginet Marketing and Sales Agency.