- Since 2014, Russia has seen a serious reduction in the number of Tour operators in business from almost 4,000 to 600 according to Rosturism. This is mainly due to the huge increase in the cost of being a tour operator which has forced many companies to change their status to that of a travel agency, Travel agent numbers have almost halved from 37,000 to less than 20,000, this is partly due to emergence of online travel agents and the confidence of younger people and experienced business travelers to travel without the assistance of a travel agency
- The leading Russian OTA’s have reported a constant growth in demand for travel to Egypt for the Winter holidays. Since the Russian plane crash on its return from Egypt in 2015, all air connection between Russia and Egypt have been banned. But it still remains a desirable destination for Russians, especially for the winter season so Russian’s travel via a third country. According to OneTwoTrip, this Autumn Russians were searching for tickets to Egypt twice as much as last year. Skyscanner reported a 45% growth in searches for Egypt in 2017 compared to year ago. Biletix sold 30% more tickets to Egypt this year than in 2016.
- Meanwhile, Turkey has returned to its previous position as the no. 1 outbound destination for the Russians in 2017, with nearly 4 million Russians having visited Turkey by the end 2017. By October Russian arrivals were already over 3 million. For 2018, the forecast is Turkey may receive 5 million Russian tourists.
- According to a recent survey by Tourbusiness, a Russian travel trade publication, most tour operators are positive about the results of sales in September and October. According to the BSI Group, the main destinations during this period were sea-side resorts in Italy, Spain and France, with a good demand for 5* hotels and villas. Tez Tour reported a growth in advanced bookings (3-4 months) which is unusual for the Russian market which is traditionally a last-minute marketing, but advanced bookings show the confidence that people now have in the market. Crete and Rhodes (Greece) were also in high demand for Sept-Oct for Tez Tour. Turkey is also fully back in the game, with all operators reporting a huge demand for tours to Turkey, also including sightseeing trips to Istanbul, which haven’t been popular for the last couple of seasons also, due to the political and safety situation in Turkey. According to ATOR, Turkey was the No. 1 destination for September-October, accounting for almost 30% of all packaged tours sold. It was followed by Russia (20%), Greece (11%), Cyprus (7%) and Spain (5%). In the beginning of Autumn Russians were also travelling to Thailand (3%), Italy, Montenegro, Bulgaria and India - 2% each.
- Airbnb reported over half a million bookings by Russians during the summer of 2017 including 138,000 family bookings. The top outbound destinations for Airbnb were Istanbul and Alanya as well as : Astana, Baku, Chisinau and Tokyo. In comparison, 218,000 foreign tourists booked their stay in Russia with Airbnb this summer.
- UK reported a 48% growth of arrivals from Russia in the first half of 2017 compared to the same period of last year. In absolute figures, 118,000 Russians visited Great Britain between January and June, and they spent 97 million pounds, which was 82% more than in the first half of 2016.
- Austria is expecting a 20% increase of Russian arrivals as results of 2017. According to the Austrian tourism board, the Russian market shows a steady growth over the last 2 years, in 2016 the growth was 14%. Tour operators selling Austria also report about 20-22% increase of sales this year.
- In October Oman simplified visa regulations for Russians with a valid Schengen or US visa, who can now qualify for a visa on arrival, valid for up to one month. Earlier this year, the UAE and Qatar waived the visa requirement for Russians, opening up travel to the Middle East, in contrast to Europe where all visa negotiations have been halted since 2014.
- Indonesia reported a 50% increase of arrivals from Russia for the first 6 months of 2017, making Russia the source market with the highest growth in arrivals this year. Indonesia received around 100,000 Russian tourisms from January to June and expects the final number for 2017 to reach 120,000. Most Russians travel to Bali and sometimes also combine with Singapore and/or Malaysia.
- Another destination in SE Asia, Vietnam, received a 38% increase in Russian visitors over 10 months of 2017. Almost half a million (457,000) Russians went to Vietnam, making Russia the no.1 source market for this country among European markets, followed by the UK, France and Germany. In October alone, over 36,000 Russians came to Vietnam, which was 16% more than in October last year.
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