Tourism industry needs resetting

Tourism industry needs resetting

Expert Reports  

Bookings of package tours abroad decreased by 3.5 times, tours around Russia - by 2 times, according to the ATOR’s (Association of Tour Operators of Russia) Analytical Service. If the sanctions already imposed against Russia persist for a long time, the country’s tourism industry will be completely reformatted, Irina Tyurina, spokeswoman for the Russian Union of Tourism Industry (RUT), believes. EcoTourism Expert figured out what kind of resetting the tourism industry can expect, and what should be done with the destinations abroad that are most popular among the Russians.

Based on the information collected by the ATOR’s Analytical Service, on February 28, the last day of the calendar winter, the bookings of foreign tours decreased by 3.5 times in the last ten days of the month. At the same time, the main feature of the booking was that tours are bought for the very near future, the sales of tour packages for the summer months have decreased even to those destinations that are still open at the moment.

These are Turkey, Egypt, and Tunisia. To be fair, it is worth saying that the ministers of tourism of these countries have confirmed to Rostourism (Federal Agency for tourism of the RF) that they are waiting for Russian travellers. “The Tunisian authorities do not plan to impose any restrictions on Russia, and expressed their interest in increasing the Russian tourist flow,” said the press-service of the Russian Department of the Minister of Tourism of Tunisia, Mohamed Moez Belhassine. In turn, the Minister of Culture and Tourism of Turkey Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, and the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities of the Arab Republic of Egypt Khaled Elenani assured Zarina Doguzova, Head of Rostourism, that they had no such plans.

“It is very important that colleagues expressed their support, are open to cooperation, and the three most popular, mass destinations remain available for our travellers, and our partners will continue to provide safe and secure as well as comfortable conditions for the stay of the Russian tourists,” the news agency RIA Novosti quotes Zarina Doguzova.

As for the pricing policy, at the moment, the situation remains tense. EcoTourism Expert has studied the offers now available on the websites of the main Russian tour operators and has seen the price increase by 10-20 percent on average, but some tour operators have more than doubled the prices.

So, for example, a seven-day tour to Egypt in early April for two ‘all unclusive’ travellers today can cost 160 thousand roubles on average, but most of the offers are from 180 to 200 thousand roubles for such a tour, at least, such information is on the sites. As for Turkey, it is worth booking a seaside vacation starting from May when the water on the coast warms up to +21 degrees Celsius and above. And the price, compared to Egypt, will be lower. From the middle of the last month of the calendar spring, a fairly large number of tour operators offer to pay 120+ thousand roubles for the same tour. Tunisia stands out on this list. Despite the fact that the flight time is longer than to Egypt, a week-long tour to this country for two tourists, according to tour operators, would cost about the same amount as to Turkey. It is also better to plan a trip to this African country at least in May. But at the same time, special attention should be paid to the fact that the current situation in the outbound tourism is very unstable and even an already purchased tour is not immune from price changes.

By the way, this is confirmed by the tour operators’ sites. After studying them for several days, you can see that the prices for tours are changing in real time, and the tour that costed 120 thousand roubles in the morning can cost 180 thousand roubles in the evening, and again 120 the next morning. This fact was confirmed by EcoTourism Expert at the office of one of the tour operators that advises to come and book a tour personally, if possible, instead of early booking.

The main share of the rise in tour prices is attributed to two factors: the growing dollar exchange rate and the increase in the flight duration, agrees Sergey Pozdnyakov, Head of the Press Expert Alliance, one of the leading Russian experts in tourism.

“The cost of tours has also increased because tour operators began to include a variety of unpredictable or hardly predictable risks. So, for example, it is not always clear now whether the aircraft of a Russian airline will be able to leave a foreign airport without problems, and there have already been cases of delays in our aircraft departures, and news about delays appears every day. The financial issue is another thing - despite the fact that the dollar and euro rates, having jumped, stabilized at a certain level, it’s impossible to say that they will stop at this level now,” he said.

As for flights, the situation is really quite difficult at the moment. As of March 2, 36 countries ‘closed the sky’ for our aircraft, including the European Union, Canada, Great Britain, Switzerland, Moldova, Norway and North Macedonia. Based on the information provided by the Flightradar24 website, the flights to Turkish Istanbul, for example, are one hour longer, and the flight from Moscow to Cairo lasts on average about 5 hours and 40 minutes instead of five hours. The new route from the Russian capital to Sharm el-Sheikh is an hour and a half longer on average.

At the same time, the domestic tourism in the current situation will see interesting and at the same time very difficult time, Sergey Pozdnyakov suggests.

“In an environment where it is not clear what will happen to air traffic, our domestic tourism will see, I think, a switch to rail and road tourism to get to the required destinations. It takes longer and is often more expensive. At the same time, a huge number of other problems immediately arise. For example, the ones related to infrastructure. The roadside is rather underdeveloped, for example, there are no properly equipped toilets along the roads! Another point is that in Russia, there are a lot of cities with really amazing attractions and not just rather boring sights. But the city authorities do not want to develop these new attractions,” the expert sums up.

# Russia