Reduction of outbound tourist flow from Russia in 2015 has been the biggest in 18 years


According to the Russian statistics agency (Rosstat), the number of Russians traveling abroad for their vacation fell by 31.3 % in 2015. The Russian tourists made 12.1 million trips to foreign countries, which was the sharpest drop since 1998. Before the previous year, the most significant reduction (by 24.4 %) was observed in 1998. Negative dynamics was also registered in 2014 – by 4 %, in 2009 – by 15.5 %, in 2001 – by 6.5 %, in 1999 – by 15.6 %. The number of trips Russians made to Europe in 2015 declined by 34% overall, while the long-haul destinations saw the biggest drop in visits, with the number of trips to the Dominican Republic dropping by 83 %, India, China and Thailand all experienced falls of more than 40 %. As reported by Rosstat, the overall number of Russians travelling abroad declined by 20 % and made 36.8 million.

Market experts and players make different forecasts for 2016. Thus, according to the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR), current spring shows some revival of the outbound tourism. In case there are no catastrophic changes before the beginning of summer season, this segment may expect slight growth. Depending on the destination, it may be 3-7 %, maximum 10% for certain destinations. Executive director of ATOR Maya Lomidze assumes that “from the psychological point of view, the consumers got used to the rouble price of foreign tours which formed during 2015 and they no more want to save money on trips on a scale which we observed in 2015”.  However, some travel companies see things differently. For example, Intourist’s director predicts that outgoing flow of Russian tourists will not exceed 5.5-6 million in 2016. The Coral Travel forecasts that only about 7 million tourists will go abroad, which is 35% less than in the previous year. According to the chief advisor of Coral Travel, “the rouble exchange rate is lower, the oil is cheaper; it is obvious that foreign trips are bound to continue falling this year”. He also mentioned that the number of tour agencies will continue to reduce: before the crisis, there were 24-25 thousand offices in 2014; by the end of 2015 there were about 20 thousand, now – 16-17 thousand, which makes it possible to speak about the reduction of 30-35 % during two years.