August is a traditional time for vacations. Based on the Association of Tour Operators of Russia’s rating, EcoTourism Expert announces the most affordable vacation destinations for beach and sightseeing tourism that are currently offered to the Russians. There's still a week. For those who have finally decided to go somewhere.
Due to the switch over of Russian tourist flows to domestic tourism destinations, the places for vacations at reasonable prices this August are mostly within Russia.
So, based on the Association of Tour Operators of Russia’s data, only 5 countries offer 93.5 percent of all the tours in the second half of August. How much would a 10-day vacation for two adults cost with an ‘all inclusive’ option (for Turkey and Egypt) or any other options with not expensive meals?
First of all, it is worth mentioning that a 10-day vacation is still possible at a price less than 100 thousand roubles, but only in Russia and Abkhazia. In Russia, two persons can visit Kaliningrad and Sochi for 10 days for 62,100 roubles and 78,900 roubles, respectively. The vacations in Abkhazia can cost 67,800 roubles for two Russian tourists.
The vacations in the Crimea Peninsula, by the way, are relatively cheaper, but just the other day, the ban on all airplane flights to the Crimea was extended and, it is quite possible, the ban will be extended further. One way or another, but the most reasonably priced tour without a flight to the Crimea can cost from about 35,000 roubles for two, however, the cost of tickets must be added to this amount. The train tickets are not inexpensive and a two-way ticket costs about 10,000 roubles per person in a compartment car, and there are not enough tickets. A trip by car with an overnight stay in Rostov can cost less, but in this case, you it takes you longer to get to the place.
The next category of tours can be called as “relatively” budgetary tours as the offers for a ten-day vacation are from 100,000 to 150,000 roubles. For this sum of money, the two persons could enjoy the seaside vacation in the UAE, Egypt or Bahrain, a sovereign island state in the Persian Gulf that is quite exotic for the Russians so far.
Are you surprised that you do not see Turkey that is popular among many Russian tourists in this list? And this is true: the Mediterranean country dropped out of the ranking of the ‘low-cost’ countries for vacations in the second half of August. It is worth noting that the vacations in Turkey have not become much more expensive, the main reason is that all offers at a reasonable price for this period have been sold out.
Nevertheless, the tours purchased from August 10 to 16 for a vacation in the second half of the month show that the share of Turkey among them has increased - from 59.7 to 62 percent. This may be due to two factors: firstly, the number of flights to this country has increased, and secondly, the Russians would like to travel with their children to have rest at the seaside before the new school year.
By the way, it is true that a substantial rise in the price for vacations in Turkey is due to the fact that there are simply no cheap offers on the market - I tried to buy a vacation tour to go to Turkish Kemer with a departure on August 31 - September 1. For this period, the vacations with accommodation at a 4* or 5* hotel for a week and a half for two costs about 120 thousand roubles.
The share of Russia in tours purchased from 10 to 16 August decreased from 20 to 16 percent. According to ATOR experts’ estimates, almost all the most suitable locations for a vacation in the southern resorts of Russia have already been sold out. Due to the same reason, the share of Abkhazia also dropped below 4.4 percent. In Abkhazia, like in Sochi, comfortable hotel rooms for tourists in good hotels have been booked already. However, there is an autumn off-peak season ahead with a smaller number of tourists with children, and it is quite possible that the demand for tours to this destination will increase.
It is worth paying attention to the fact that the share of Russia and Abkhazia is expected to be higher than 16 and 4.4 percent, respectively, since it should be mentioned that many people book the hotels for their vacations in places where they can travel by their own car, for example.
As for other countries, the stable demand for vacations in Egypt is worth noting, the share of bookings at the resorts of Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh is 7 percent of the total. The share of the United Arab Emirates has grown to 4.4 percent from 3.3 percent at the beginning of the month, which is explained by an increased number of options to get to the resort city. By the way, quite affordable direct flights to the Emirates will soon be offered in our country, the Wizz Air Abu Dhabi daily flights will be launched to and from Moscow in the beginning of October. A one way ticket is expected to cost from 100 euros (6.6 thousand roubles per person) and a round-trip air ticket will be from 200 euros (12.2 thousand roubles per person). The price is sure to soar in the New Year season: a round-trip air ticket is expected to be from 320 euros (19.6 thousand roubles).
Interestingly, against this background, there is a fairly good price reduction for non-beach tours. For example, you can fly to Istanbul for 10 days for 67 thousand roubles for two, although in this case, only breakfast is provided. Those who would prefer lunches and dinners to be included should consider the vacations in Caucasian Mineralnye Vody, where the vacation costs are about 119 thousand roubles. And lovers of the exotic should think of travelling to Uzbekistan - a ten-day trip to this country and staying at a three-star hotel with breakfast costs about 104 thousand roubles. It should be noted that in recent months, the interest in tours to the former USSR countries has grown very much: in the first half of 2022, the arrivals of the Russians were higher than in the same period of pre-Covid 2019. For example, Uzbekistan was visited by 149.6 thousand people, which is 34.4 percent more than three years ago. In general, the growth in demand for tour packages in 2022 was about 80 percent compared to the pre-pandemic period.