Russian Travel Market












The government is going to legitimate deposit certificates in tourism

The Russian Government has prepared a draft document allowing tour operators to issue so-called certificates of deposit, guaranteeing consumers the provision of an equivalent tour product within 12 (18) months from the date of issue. In this case, a tour operator has a legal right to keep money received for the tour product for this period and to escape the bankruptcy.

Certificates must be issued within 60 days of the introduction of restrictions, they can be electronic and must contain complete information about the tour, including the route, accommodation, food, and transfer services. Also, the document allows to change the destination and travel dates.

Another important point of the draft regulation in favor of a tourist is the exclusion of surcharges. If the cost of the tour product is higher than that indicated in the certificate of deposit, the tour operator will pay the difference.

Despite the introduction of deposit certificates, a tourist still has a right to ask for refund.

The Russian Government to support the air transportation

The Russian Government is developing measures to support the air transportation sector, including airline subsidies, as reported by the Russian Minister of Economic Development. Transport Ministry will provide airlines with subsidies in the amount of $309 million to pay off airline expenses from February to July, which was recently announced by President Putin. Currently, due to the global coronavirus pandemic, Russia has closed international flights that are highly profitable for companies (except for repatriation flights).

The Federal Tourism Agency estimates financial liabilities of the tourist industry

The Federal Tourism Agency requested financial data on Russian tour operators working in both outbound and domestic tourism. This information will be used to prepare a proposal for the Russian Government to reduce the heavy financial burden which has been placed on the travel industry, which requires travel agents to return the cost of any postponed travel within 10 days.

According to the preliminary calculation, the total amount to be refund is estimated to be $593 million dollars. From April 5th, this figures only includes refund for outbound travel. The estimate greatly exceeds the financial support promised by the government to the travel sector of $47 million dollars to support Russian travel industry.

The total volume of lost revenues in the travel sector due to COVID-19 is estimated to be $20.2 billion in the first half of 2020.

ATOR expects domestic tourism recovering in July

Maya Lomidze, the Executive Director of ATOR (Association of Tour Operators of Russia) said that tourist packages will begin with domestic tourism before they will open for abroad.

“Most likely, no one will go anywhere until July. We hope that Russia will be opened for domestic tourism in July or August... It is hard to say how the situation will develop in international markets, but most likely they will open at different times. Nevertheless, it can be assumed that most likely it will be possible to travel as before the pandemic only in 2021”, said Maya Lomidze.

Market players predict a “colossal deferred demand” of trips after the pandemic, which makes them believe that the tourism industry will revive and recover.

Nevertheless, according to ATOR forecast, the recovery rate is not going to be fast. “After the pandemic, even taking into account deferred demand, the tourism market will need at least 6-8 months to start returning to the pre-crisis level,” Ms. Lomidze emphasized.

Research on the travel plans of the Russians for May and summer holidays

Most Russian nationals (57%) plan to spend the upcoming May holidays and summer at home or at their dachas, while about 30% hope they will be able to travel domestically or abroad, according to a survey carried out by the Russian Public Opinion Research Centre. 11% hope to take a trip to another Russian city and 4% plan to travel to Crimea, and 6% to the Black Sea area. 3% continue to travel to a foreign country. 2% plan trips within the former Soviet Union, with the Baltic States being one of the most popular destinations.

30% of Russians planned to make a trip during the May holidays or during the summer, pollster said in a recent survey by TASS. The top 3 domestic destinations were: Krasnodar (Southern Russia), St. Petersburg and the Altai region (Southern Siberia). Abkhazia, Belarus, Armenia were named as the most popular destinations among the former Soviet republics. As for foreign countries, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt were mentioned.

Pollster conducted similar surveys held in early April stated that 72% of Russians had not changed their holiday plans for May or the summer holidays in the past two months, while 26% said that their plans had changed. In March, 81% said their plans had not changed, while 17% said that they had revised their holiday arrangements. The main reasons for changing the holiday plans in April were coronavirus (50%), the lockdown (34%) and the closure of the Russian border (11%).

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