Tourism rebounds with more customers serving themselves
The Federal Tourism Agency says tourist numbers jumped 44% year on year during the quarter, with more than 6 million Russians heading abroad during the quarter. Destinations reaping the benefits of more Russians tourists include Egypt (up 95% year on year), Thailand (up 112%) and China (up38%), with Italy, Spain and Germany also seeing increasing numbers of Russians.
Industry players say the jump in tourist numbers reflects a more buoyant mood amongst Russians, with a slumping Euro and rebounding Euro helping them get more for their money when traveling.
Viktor Dann, General Director of “Olympia-Reisen-Sibir” says a major part of the increase comes from middle income customers. Dmitry Gorin, General Director of Inna Tour VIP service says leading budget resorts of Turkey, Egypt and Greece have become more affordable with family bookings which would have cost about 100 thousand Roubles 2 years ago now down to 80 thousand. Gorin adds, however, that the rebound in tourist numbers isn’t being matched by increasing profitability for tour operators, who are facing a 25-30% downturn in profits. Sergey Agafonov, General Director of Magazin Goryashchih Putevok says rebounding costs are trimming margins.
“The average cost of a tour package in 2009 fell 20-30%, however, nowadays we can see a rebound of costs. Before the economic down turn the average cost of a tour package per person was $1100-1200, nowadays an average cost is – $900-1100”
Vladimir Vorobyov, president of Natalie Tours says another trend becoming evident is increasing awareness by clients about possibilities for organizing and booking their own tours, reflecting increased sensitivity about agency commissions and increased internet usage and advertising. The slide in the euro and streamlined visa procedures are providing increased opportunities for customers to service themselves without any tourist agency support. Aleksey Dorosh, commercial director of the anywayanyday.com says over 46% of tourists (including business tourists) have booked and arranged their own tours.
Russian tourists abroad 2010