Using cashback at the end of the year

Using cashback at the end of the year

Expert Reports  

On August 25, a new ‘autumn stage’ of the tourism cashback campaign starts in Russia. The tours in Russia for this stage of the programme will be on sale until September 10. A 20% discount on the cost of the tour will be provided for all trips within our country that will be made between October 1 and December 25, 2022. EcoTourism Expert figured out how the new stage of the programme differs from the previous ones and tried to guess what trips with the updated cashback programme would be of interest for the Russians.

The start of the ‘autumn stage’ of selling tours with cashback was announced and iIt was decided to launch it from October 1 and it will last until December 25. "A trip should be made during this period,” said Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin at a meeting on the development of the tourism and hospitality industry held in Gorno-Altaisk.

People had to purchase tickets and book accommodation before September 10. It’s worth mentioning that they could get a 20% discount only when they use a Mir banking card to pay for a trip. It’s also necessary to know that, for example, payments at gas stations on the way to the place of vacation and for an accommodation in the private apartments are not included in the cashback programme, as it was earlier.

What is included? Indeed, there are nuances in the new stage of the tourism cashback campaign.

For example, now it was possible to use cashback for enthusiasts of water tourism. The matter is that this stage of the tourism cashback programme was before the navigation was over. On the one hand, it was already quite cold to travel along many northern rivers in October when this stage of the tourism cashback programme was in full swing, while it was quite a comfortable weather for travelling along the rivers of central Russia. So, people could get a good discount while travelling by a comfortable ship along the Volga River or to the Valaam Island in Lake Ladoga, the Kizhi Island in Lake Onega or the Solovki (Solovetsky Archipelago) in the White Sea, along the Yenisei River or, for example, along the Lena River to see the famous Lena Pillars.

Thus, one of the main tasks of the tourism cashback campaign becomes wider - to make the travelling season longer. In general, it is intended to support tour operators, for whom, only the summer months and New Year holidays are a high season, and the rest months of the year become practically a low season when they have to live on the money they made at the high season.

By the way, one of the most important novelties of the programme is that the Far East is becoming much more affordable for travellers. When making a trip to the regions of the Far Eastern Federal District, it will be possible to return 20 percent of the tour cost to the Mir banking card, but in the amount of up to 40 thousand roubles. Given the high cost of travelling to the Pacific Ocean, experts suggest that this type of vacation would be in demand. Of course, not every hotel, holiday resort or health resort in this region are among the participants in the programme, their full list can be found on the site мирпутешествий.рф.

Those who plan to get a tourism cashback for purchasing short tours also have a chance. The new stage of the tourism cashback programme includes tours lasting from 3 nights and longer. The minimum cost of a trip to receive a cashback in this case is not set, it turns out that both the cheapest bus tours and the most modest hotels are suitable for the tourism cashback programme. 20 percent of the money paid will be returned to the Mir banking card within 5 days, but not more than 20 thousand roubles.

According to Head of the Cabinet of Ministers Mikhail Mishustin, about 600,000 people will be able to use the updated tourism cashback programme.  

It should be noted that the programme has been operating for two years, during this period, about four million Russians took advantage of its benefits, while in 2022 alone, 2.4 mn Russians spent 44 bn roubles to purchase their tours.

By the way, a number of industry portals had already managed to rank the most budgetary regions where travellers could go this autumn under the new stage of the tourism cashback programme. In particular, the analysts of the sanatoriums’ portal have calculated that the cheapest way to have vacations and get medical treatment can be in the Zabaikalskaya (Trans-Baikal) Territory where a 12-day tour costs around 37.2 thousand roubles per person. In the Amur Region, the tours cost a little more, 40.1 thousand roubles, and the tours for the vacations in the Magadan Region close the top three regions offering most reasonable prices and providing treatment at the health resorts. On the coast of the Sea of Okhotsk, the vacationers can get health resort treatment and have a rest for 40.9 thousand roubles. It is clear that in this case, only the cost of accommodation and treatment is included, excluding the flight, but is rather encouraging that due to the cashback programme, the expenses can be partly compensated. As for sightseeing trips, 20 thousand roubles returned under the tourism cashback programme allows you to pay for your accommodation for 4-5 days almost at any Russian hotel of an average price category.

The tourism cashback programme as it currently exists is fully justified, says Elena Pereskokova, an expert on tourism-related issues at the Agency for Strategic Initiatives, “both the expansion of the programme to include travelling to the Far East and the inclusion of opportunities to take a cruise along the Russian rivers are important. Of course, for many people it was a surprise that now, there is no way to arrive on Friday and leave on Sunday, tours should be at least for 3 nights, but in this way, the use of the hotel rooms can be more beneficial,” the expert says.

However, there is still room for improvement, she believes.

“At the moment, the cashback programme does not offer the possibility of compensating trips related to children’s tourism. In the tourism cashback programme, many tour operators would like to see some destinations related to children’s organized tours, which is currently impossible due to the ‘sales window’ within the programme. Of course, the Children’s Travel Certificate campaign is operating in Russia as part of the state order, but if combined with the cashback campaign, it would have a positive effect on the Russian tourism development,” Elena Pereskokova sums up.