According to RosIndex, a regular research conducted by Ipsos Comcon*, between 2013 and 2016 the share of Russians living in cities with population over 100 000 and spending their vacations abroad reduced by about a half. In particular, in Moscow this share reduced from 21 to 12 % within the said period and in St. Petersburg – from 20 to 12 %. In the Far East region this indicator decreased from 11 to 4 % and in other regions – from 6 to 3 %. According to the Russian State Statistics Service, the number of tourists travelling abroad decreased by 8 % to 31,7 million in 2016.
In terms of tourism types, resorts, sightseeing and ski trips lost the most number of tourists during the four years of crisis. In 2013, 47 % of Russian tourists chose resorts for their trips abroad, while in 2016, the figure fell to 43 %. Within three years, the share of those who choose sightseeing tours decreased from 27 to 20 %, the share of mountain-skiers – from 3,9 to 2,7 % and the share of Russian cruise ship passengers abroad – from 6 to 4 %.
By contrast, in 2013-2016, the share of tourists travelling abroad to visit their relatives and friends increased from 10 to 16 %. There was also an increase in the share of Russian tourists who preferred the health resort treatment abroad (from 2,6 to 2,9 %) and those who travelled abroad to attend the cultural events (festivals, sport competitions, etc.) – from 2,5 to 3,5 %.
In 2016, the average expenses increased while the number of tourists decreased. The share of Russian tourists with the budget of less than 40 000 RUB (540 EUR**) per person, which in 2015 accounted for 67 % of all tourists travelling abroad, decreased to 45 %. At the same time the share of tourists with the budget of more than 40 000 RUB per person increased from 33% in 2015 to 55% in 2016.
More independent trips
Due to decrease in the total number of tourists, there was a considerable reallocation towards independent trips. In 2016, the number of individual tourists decreased by 16 % compared with 2015. However due to much more decrease in the number of organized tourists (by 36 % within the same period), individual tourists now account for 33 % of the general structure of the international tourism market, while a year ago they were only 27 % and in 2013 – 23 %.
The difference between the average expenses per person per trip booked through an agency and independently is only 2 000-3 000 RUB or 27-40 EUR (4 % in 2016). This is not a considerable saving taking into account that an individual tourist takes major efforts to arrange a trip. The analysis of the choice factors also proves that the price for an individual tourist is a secondary objective, the main one, contrary to a common belief, is not a saving factor but a desire to get experience and maximum impressions and for his/her money.
Individual tourists are more often ready to sacrifice their comfort or service quality and they stay in hotels only in half of the cases, frequently choosing hostels and minimum number of stars. They tend to travel for more than 2 weeks or choose short trips for several days, while the average trip length for organized tourists (buying package tours in travel agencies) is 1,5-2 weeks. Individual tourists frequently travel alone, they use cars in their trips more often, they are also more athletic and choose extreme sports activities. Organized tourists appreciate “easy logistics” and trips with no surprises (which also guarantees less difficulties with a foreign language), they stay in hotels of any stars (but not in hostels). Organized tourists, who don’t make big efforts in arranging their trips, refuse to travel more easily.
Positive outlook for 2017
Improvement of economic indicators brings hope that outbound tourism will demonstrate some positive dynamics in 2017 (in H2 2016, the financial situation of Russian households ceased worsening and returned to the level of H2 2015). According to the market players, the interest of Russian people to vacations abroad has increased since the beginning of the year. The growth on various directions is from 10 to 30 %. In the beginning of 2017, the market of organized tourism grew by 50-60 % and the market of individual tourism had a slower growth. Some experts forecast that in 2017 the package tourism market will return to the level of three years age and the number of individual tourists travelling abroad will continue growing.
* Sample: 25 700 respondents aged 16-75 living in 50 Russian cities with population over 100 000.
** In 2016, the EUR to RUB exchange rate was equal to approximately 74