The WTM Vision Conference Moscow 2015 heard today that low-cost airlines’ commitment to flying to Russia is vital to the recovery of the country’s tourism business.
Research presented at the conference predicts the number of Russian passengers flying on low-cost carriers will increase by an annual rate of 13 per cent over the next four years.
Euromonitor international research analyst Marija Milasevic notes that carriers such as easyJet, Vueling and Wizz, already active in the market, are being joined by new start-up airlines such as Pobeda, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Aeroflot which serves the domestic market.
Airports in Russia are also improving as a result of the government’s commitment to tourism.
The increased presence of international hotel chains such as Marriott, Accor and Hilton will also help restore inbound numbers and increase domestic options.
Euromonitor International also argued increased adoption of online digital platforms is also an important factor for tourism moving forward.
Some 60 per cent of the Russian population is online, 44 per cent of whom access the web via mobile.
Nonetheless, 2014 was a tough year for Russian tourism.
Euromonitor International identifies five factors: tour operator bankruptcy, a weak rouble, lack of consumer confidence, gaps in legislative system and the tense political situation in the region.
Overall, 2014 saw a drop in not only outbound but inbound tourism numbers with declines of four per cent and three per cent respectively.
But important leisure destinations actually saw an increase, with Egypt up 34 per cent and Turkey six per cent year-on-year.
In terms of inbound, Russia welcomed ten per cent more Chinese visitors in 2014.
WTM Vision Conference Moscow, organised in association with Tour Business, takes place at the Golden Ring Hotel.
World Travel Market, senior director, Simon Press said: “The WTM Vision Conference Moscow is firmly established as a key mid-year event offering the Russian travel industry the latest research, information and opinion.
“Despite the difficult current political situation in Russia, the research shows how Russia tourists remain a critical source market for key European and North African destinations.
“While the growth of no-frills carriers at Russian airports will help to fuel inbound, domestic and outbound tourism.”