Isolated? Russia’s Tourism Numbers Increased by 8% in 2015

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Translated for Fort Russ by Soviet Bear

11th April, 2016

The number of foreign tourists who visited Russia in 2015 has beaten the record for the last seven years, reported the Federal Tourism Agency.

According to Rosstat, referenced by the Agency, within nine months from the beginning of 2015 our country was visited by over 20 million of people from abroad, which is 8% more compared to the same period in 2014.

“Actually, the calculation methods are different”, as the Vice-President of the Russian Union of travel industry Yuri Barzykin told “RG”. In this case, we are probably talking about all foreign citizens who visited Russia. But the number of those who indicated “tourism” as their travel purpose has increased significantly. While growth in this case is by 13% compared with last year.” 

This interest in our country exists for several reasons, the expert continues. “First of all, in Russia everything is much cheaper than in Europe. You can buy goods here for less, cheaper transport, food in restaurants, staying in hotels, it all has an impact. Secondly, tourists from South-East Asia, the number of which has largely increased, in general, began to travel more around the world in recent times. Russia is more geographically convenient for them. So the conditions for inbound tourism are favourable, and we should use this chance to improve tourism in the country”, said Yuri Barzykin.

This applies to everything – from the quality of service in restaurants and hotels to the promotion of a country abroad. By the way, in the middle of December the national tourism website Russia travel has come online in test mode, which will continue to provide information on the main cultural, natural, historical, and other sights of Russia in several languages.

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Also this year, a national marketing center for tourism “Visit Russia/Time to relax in Russia” began to work. Under the auspices of the centre, a network of national tourist “Visit Russia” offices began to be developed, dedicated to the promotion of the country as an attractive destination for travel and business trips. Tourist offices of Russia in Finland have been already opened; it is oriented to Scandinavia. They also are open in Germany and Austria. The representative office has also been opened in the United Arab Emirates, focused on the Middle Eastern market, as well as in China and Italy.

In Russia it is now cheaper than in Europe for food, travel, hotels. No wonder the flow of tourists here is growing.

In the top ten of countries whose citizens indicated “tourism” as the purpose of travel to Russia is China: in 2015 for 583,000 people. Also in the top three on this indicator, as in 2014, are Germany and the US (153,000 and 319,000 tourists, respectively). Then there is Turkey, Israel, UK, S. Korea, Italy, Spain, and France”, – explained the Federal tourism Agency.

Interestingly, in 2015, the largest increase relative to 2014 was given by Iran, which has entered the top 20 leading countries for international arrivals to Russia for the first time. At the beginning of summer there were even Charter flights to Sochi from Iran. Moreover, the country actively invites the Russians to come on vacation, said Yuri Barzykin. Also, the number of entering tourists from Argentina to Russia has increased – by 28%, from Taiwan – by 23%, China – 21%, from Hong Kong – by 18%, from the Republic of Korea – by 13%.

“Tourist traffic from Europe and North America, by contrast, is stagnating or even falling since the middle of 2014. For example, if the tourist traffic from Germany, US, Italy this year has changed slightly compared to the previous year, the decline in traffic from the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Lithuania, and Denmark ranged from 20-49%,” cited figures from the Federal Tourism Agency.

However there has been a reduction in trips of Russians abroad. One of the main reasons is the growth of the dollar and the Euro against the ruble, experts say. For the first nine months of 2015, compared to the same period last year, outbound tourism fell by 20%.

Well, if you take the top 10 countries by departure of Russians abroad in the first nine months of the year, these are: Turkey, Abkhazia, Finland, Kazakhstan, Egypt, Ukraine, Estonia, China, Poland, and Germany (in descending order). For the purpose of “tourism” in the top 10 were Turkey, Egypt, Greece, Spain, Germany, Italy, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Thailand, and China.

Meanwhile, Dubai was the most expensive city for the celebration of New Year. This was reported in the results of the research of Travelex. It is noted that the average New Year party in Dubai will cost each guest 1,635 AED (USD 445).

Travelex compared the rates of the gala dinner per person, bottle of champagne, as well as the prices of invitation to a night club and a pint of beer. The cost of flights to the country and accommodation is not included.

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