Tour operators consider China, India and Iran the most promising inbound markets
China, India and Iran have become the most promising markets in terms of the development of tourism in Russia, the press secretary of the Russian Union of Travel Industry Irina Tyurina said, citing data from the incoming companies.
"The trend of decreasing tourists' flow from Europe and increasing number of tourists from Eastern countries has been a minimum of three or four years ago. This season organized tourist flow to Russia grows only from the East. China has the leading position, Iran and India also show excellent dynamics," Irina Tyurina explained.
She noted that Russia is not among the top ten most popular destinations for the Chinese, but their flow is constantly increasing. "In the first half of the year, Russia only by visa-free regime was visited by 160 thousand tourists from China, which is two times more than in the same period of the last year. Moscow and St. Petersburg are the most popular places of visit, which during this time were visited by 103 thousand Chinese travelers as part of group tours, although a year ago the figure was less than 45 thousand," Irina Tyurina said.
The company STC Intourist, in particular, noted that the flow of Chinese tourists this year has tripled compared to the last year. The increasing popularity of Russia for Chinese tourists has three factors: the fall of the ruble, increasing the welfare of the Chinese themselves, and favorable prices for accommodation in Russian hotels, the company explained.
In the KMP Group pointed out that the fall of the ruble in the first place, won the border regions with China, where Chinese residents go for shopping. According to statistics, Chinese tourist spends on buying about 60% of the budget for the trip. At the same time, if earlier Chinese tourists chose the cheapest accommodation options, now their preferences have shifted toward the four- and five-star hotels.
Another promising market is India. This market is still poorly mastered, primarily because of the difficulties in cooperation with local tour companies and difficulties with registration of Russian visas. Experts believe that if Russia will simplify visa for citizens of India, the number of tourists will increase significantly.
Iranian citizens traveling to Russia are in steady demand. In particular, Intourist this year organized charter flights from Tehran to Moscow, with departures twice a week, the company "His TS" - four charter from Tehran to Moscow and two to Sochi.
The most popular cities to visit for Iranians were Moscow and St. Petersburg, where tourists get to have regular flights from the capital. The main problem when working with Iranian tourists, according to tour operators, is difficulty in obtaining visas. While Russia is not among the most popular destinations among the Iranians, but if visa requirements will be easier, it could change the situation. According to the Federal Border Guard Service of the Russian Federation, in the first quarter of 2015, Russia was visited by more than 1.2 thousand Iranians. According to the forecasts of tour operators, our country can take up to 60 thousand Iranian tourists annually.
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.