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Russia’s poor image abroad holds back inbound tourism

Russia’s poor image abroad holds back inbound tourism

Russia’s poor image overseas is holding back its inbound tourism industry’s ability to attract visitors from the US and western Europe, reveals new research at WTM Vision Conference – Moscow today.

Inbound tourism arrivals in 2012 showed solid growth to reach 26 million, according to Euromonitor International. However, the research company’s Senior Research Analyst Mantas Kaluina will tell WTM Vision Conference – Moscow delegates Russia is still reliant on visitors from neighbouring countries and the industry needs to work on tourism flows from the US and Western Europe.

Visa bureaucracy, security, infrastructure and the quality of tourism services contributed to Russia’s poor image overseas, he added.

The Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan accounted for nearly half of all visitors, sending around six million, three million and two million respectively. Looking ahead to 2017, Euromonitor international expects little change, with the same three accounting for eight million, six million and four million arrivals.

Germany is its strongest western European market, but the figures for 2012 to 2017 fall well short of one million for each year. Visitor numbers from China, however, will exceed one million by 2017.


Russia’s outbound market was up 9% in 2012, driven by the growth of the middle classes. The most popular destinations are local – Ukraine, Finland, Kazakhstan.

By 2017, nearly 40% of Russian households will have a disposable income more than US$25,000 (£16,500, 771,415 Russian Rubbles) reveals the research. Russia will account for an additional eight million overseas trips by 2017, the biggest increase apart from China.

For many Russian, international travel is a new possibility. Around half of all package holidays sold to Russians in 2012 costs between $600 and $1500, with Turkey, Greece and Egypt dominating the market.

Online will also drive the growth of outbound travel, with total sales growing by more than 10% a year until 2017. Air tickets are the largest category for sales, followed by hotels, while social media continues to grow in importance.

Euromonitor International’s predicts the global travel industry will grow by 4% between 2012 and 2017.

Reed Travel Exhibitions Director World Travel Market Simon Press said:  “The predicted growth in Russian outbound traffic is good news for the global industry, but the report shows greater support could be given to its inbound industry, especially to attract tourists form the large markets of the US and western Europe.”

Moscow was the host city for the first of five WTM Vision Conference of 2013. Next is Beijing (8 April), followed by Sao Paulo (24 April), Dubai (7 May) and Rimini (17 October).

WTM Vision Conference – Moscow is organised in association with Tour Business.