Tourism in Russia

Tourism in Russia under threat

Reviewing the statistics of the ATOR (Association of Tour Operators of Russia), it turns out that until September 2021, or the end of the high tourism season in Russia, only 4% of international tourists arrived to Russia compared to 2019, a number that makes everyone who lives thanks to businesses related to tourist activities tremble.

It is not surprising the panorama of closings places that are dedicated to the sale of handicrafts or a large part of the businesses in the most emblematic streets.

For example, in the pedestrian street of Arbat in Moscow, the passerby can verify this sad reality, many locals, who lost all their clientele, which was almost 90% foreign tourists, closed or changed type of business, a panorama that softened in summer, but that has returned to be present in this winter.

Domestic tourism in Russia is still alive

The other side of the situation in this panorama is domestic tourism, which had less incidence in terms of percentages (between 5 and 10% less compared to 2019); a not so drastic drop compared to the flow of international tourism, the explanation is very simple, the Russians did not have many choices to travel comfortably to the countries that most attract Russian tourists.

As a result of the situation, the government encouraged domestic tourism to shovel the harsh consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in the sector; refund of part of the expense to local tourists if specific packages are purchased or aid for the tourist establishments receiving the domestic tourism.

The drastic restrictions in summer that came in parallel with the Delta variants of Coronavirus and similar; meant that internal tourism did not reach the expected objectives, especially the requirement of vaccination and the QR code in the middle of the internal summer season.

Trend changes

Regarding the demand and reserves by international tourism arriving in Russia, it was reduced in several aspects:

First the countries of origin where restrictive rules were applied for flights or even granting of Russian visas.

Second, the reduction in the number of days to spend in Russian territory, the crisis caused by the pandemic, as well as the conditions related to the return to the country of origin, pushed travelers to reduce their stay.

And finally, the services that were most affected are those of excursions and services that need a lot of social contact with the traveler, this drastically affected not only the guide staff, but also many sales sectors that are linked to the excursion service. .

Consequences of the changes:

You can imagine the chain of negatively affected with everything mentioned, from airlines to hotels, logistics, guides, gift shops, restaurants and endless businesses and jobs.

The bad situation ultimately affects sectors that seem very far from tourism; even touching the banking and mortgage system; the economic chain is so complex; but at the same time it is very sensitive to any radical change in the whole or part of it composition.

What does inbound tourism need in Russia?

The first thing to do is activate the electronic visa process; since it will help travelers have easier the process; until now the process of obtaining a visa has been and continues to be a tedious process; waste of time, money and a lot of paperwork.

The second is to encourage small businesses; that tend to serve inbound tourism by providing private services, an amount of tourism that goes unnoticed in statistics, but which represents a very important factor of attraction and stability in the sector.

Third, soften the entry conditions; Without leaving health control, sometimes it makes no sense, for example, to prevent a tourist from entering a museum without a PCR test; they can use the same QR code for the vaccination that was done in the country of origin or make rapid tests available to tourists in the vicinity of the most relevant museums (such as the Hermitage for example).

Tourism Outlook in Russia for 2022

No one can give an exact forecast, but just to reflect the possibilities we will return to some references from the specialists:

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the W.H.O., published a statement on the professional network LinkedIn in which he assures that the pandemic can be defeated in 2022, according to the organization has the “tools to end this calamity”

Anthony Fauci, chief US epidemiologist, speaking to The Washington Post affirmed his hope that we will have a drastic spike with omicron, and that the number of infections will drop to a very low level and just stay there.

“Sometimes rapid fire can explode very quickly but go out on its own,” said David Ho, a virologist at Columbia University, as quoted by CNBC.

Tourism in Russia / 2021 in numbers:

Domestic:

  • Domestic tourists returning to the regions of the Russian Federation has increased by 8-10%.
  • The total flow of tourists in domestic tourism is 5-10% lower compared to 2019.
  • Crimea had an increase of close to 30%.
  • Organized tourism of national tourists in 2021 increased 3% compared to 2019.

International Outbound:

  • 7.7 million Russians traveled to 16 countries in 2021 which represents 40% less compared to 2019.

International Inbound:

  • The Border Service registered only 178 thousand visits from foreigners for tourism purposes, 96% less compared to 2019.

What do we think from Excursions in Russia?

As professionals in the sector, we encourage all travelers to consider traveling to Russia; looking at the levels of infections in the world, it can be said that in Russia there is a very stable and controlled situation.

The prices of the services are available to everyone; by exchange rate of the Russian currency and the drop in prices that caused the pandemic.

Do not hesitate to contact us for more information.

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