Informe semanal de noticias del mercado ruso de la Oficina de Turismo de Tenerife en Moscú

  • Destination News

 Rosturizm: the number of Russian tourists who went abroad increased by 10%: In 2019, 10% more Russians will rest abroad than a year earlier. This assessment was voiced by Dmitry Gorin, the advisor to the head of Rostourism. At the same time, domestic rest is also chosen by a larger number of Russian residents. “The Russian resorts are the sales leaders for upcoming season, and among foreign countries it is Turkey, the increase in sales of tours to which was recorded for February-March. All countries offer budget travel options. These are Greece, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, Italy, Spain, Montenegro. The choice is very broad, and this year we note an increase in foreign travel by at least 10% compared to last year,” explained Dmitry Gorin. According to him, the tourist prefer organized tourism, mostly that to fly by charter flights is the best budgetary option, as well as a buying of a tour package, which includes a hotel, flight, optional excursions and services. At the same time, Rosturizm recommends that you should trust the organization of your travel only to tour operators which are officially registered in the RosTurism registry, as well as to agents who have contractual relations with tour operators.

Russia and Maldives will sign an agreement on the abolition of visa regime: On June 25, 2019, at the invitation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey V. Lavrov, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Maldives, Abdulla Shahid, will visit Russia for the first time. During the visit, it is planned to sign an Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of Maldives on the mutual abolition of visa requirements for citizens of the Russian Federation and citizens of the Republic of Maldives,” informed a statement published on the official website of the Ministry. The Maldives are very popular destination among Russian tourists. According to Rosstat (State Statistics Service), in 2018 more than 38 thousand of Russian tourists visited the islands of the archipelago. The number of tourists increases every year.

By the middle of June tour operators sold two thirds of the package tours for the summer season: “By the middle of June, tour operators sold from 60 to 70% of package tours for the summer season. Demand growth in most areas does not exceed 10%,” told Maya Lomidze, the executive director of the Association of Russian Tour Operators (ATOR). “Quite a significant part of the summer packages were sold at early booking stage from mid-February to April. In April-May the remaining sales did not go with such intensity. Now tour operators have sold 60-70% of tour packages. Therefore, it is possible to draw conclusions on the consumer behavior of tourists,” she said. M. Lomidze stressed that consumer solvency is not growing, and the market feels it. “The dynamics of demand is not as high as predicted in January-February. The growth in demand in all destinations does not exceed 10%, the exception are Sochi and the Crimea (Russia), where the growth is exactly more than 15-20%,” added Lomidze. The expert stressed that all the figures relate only to organized tourism. “In foreign destinations, the increase is also within 10%, but the picture is different from one area to another. There are those regions that are stagnating, or even declining. At the same time, demand for Turkey and Greece is growing, despite rising prices,” she reported.

  • Aviation News

Aeroflot to start operating the Airbus A350-900 early next year: Russian flag carrier Aeroflot is to start operating all-new Airbus A350 wide-body aircraft during the first quarter of 2020. According to the airline’s flight schedule published on its website, an A350-900 will fly to New York from March 29, and to Beijing from May 1. Tickets are already available for purchase. A source at Aeroflot has confirmed to Russian Aviation Insider the dates for the launch of long-haul international operations utilising the new type, but reveals that, prior to that, the new airliner will be used on several shorter crew familiarisation flights – the likely candidate routes for these are believed to be busy air lines such as Moscow to St Petersburg and Moscow to Sochi. The new airliner addition will feature a three-class cabin configuration, with 28 seats in business, 24 in comfort and 264 in economy classes, a total of 316.Aeroflot, After the tragic loss of a Superjet 100 in May, Aeroflot’s fleet currently has 252 aircraft, including 49 SSJ100s, 79 A320s, 36 A321s, 22 A330s, 47 B737s and 19 B777s. Aeroflot has taken a cautious approach to its fleet expansion this year, as it plans to take delivery of two Boeing 777-300 wide-bodies and 10 Superjet 100 regional jets. Airbus aircraft are not on the supply list for this year.

  • Travelers

Russian tourist flow to the exotic islands of the Indian Ocean grew by 14.6%: In the first quarter of 2019 the Russian tourist flow to the exotic island destinations of the Indian Ocean continued to grow. In total, for the first quarter of 2019 73,764 tourists from the Russian Federation visited the exotic island destinations of the Indian Ocean – the Seychelles, Maldives, Mauritius and Sri Lanka, which is 14.57% more than a year earlier. The main contribution to the growth of the Russian tourist traffic was made by Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Only Seychelles demonstrated negative dynamics, but by the end of the first quarter this destination shows a trend to exit from a protracted decline. So, Sri Lanka is on the first position in terms of the volume of the Russian tourist flow and the dynamics of growth among the exotic islands of the Indian Ocean in the first quarter of 2019. In January-March 2019 39,187 Russian tourists visited Sri Lanka. This is 23.6% more than in the first quarter of 2018. At the same time, in March, the number of Russian arrivals increased significantly: the number of Russian citizens arrived on the island was 39.8% more than a year earlier. Such growth is connected with successful charter programs of Russian tour operators and an increase of direct regular transportation to Colombo by Rossia Airlines. The Russian market grew in Sri Lanka in the first quarter very brightly against the background of the general dynamics of foreign tourist traffic to the island (total + 4.6%). As a result, among the dozens of source markets for Sri Lanka, Russia rose from the 7-th to the 6-th position in the ranking. According to the Ministry of Tourism of the Maldives, over the period January-March 2019 Maldives was visited by 26,284 tourists from the Russian Federation, which is 7.7% more than last year. At the same time in March, the annual increase in Russian tourist traffic was 18%, compared with March 2018. The overall increase in foreign tourist traffic to the Maldives in the first quarter was +15% and Russia was ranked on the 7-th line in the TOP-10 of the entry markets of the Maldives. According to the statistical bureau of Mauritius, 4,298 tourists from Russia arrived on this island state in January-March. This is not only 10% more than in the same period last year, but also for the first time more than the Russian quarterly tourist flow to the Seychelles. The Seychelles are on the last position. According to the local tourism ministry, over the first three months of 2019 3,995 Russian tourists arrived in Seychelles, which is 8% less than a year earlier. The fall of the Russian tourist flow to the Seychelles continued all the year 2018, but at the beginning of this year, the rate of this trend slowed. So, in March 2019 1,368 tourists from the Russian Federation arrived on the Seychelles against 1,395 a year earlier (minus 1.94%).

How did the tourist flow change in popular destinations for the 1 quarter of 2019?: As for the dynamics of the tourist flow from Russia in various destinations, Turkey showed the highest growth in annual terms within TOP-30 countries (+ 47.8% compared to the first quarter of 2018). Significant figures of annual growth was demonstrated by Cuba (+ 43.8%), Belgium (+ 25.7%), Sri Lanka (+ 24%), Japan (+ 21,3%), Italy (+20,7%), Hungary (+ 18,2%), Indonesia (+ 16,2%), United Kingdom (+ 13,6%), Cyprus (+ 10,2%) and Dominican Republic (+ 10,2%). Of the most popular «winter» destinations Thailand showed almost zero growth (+0,8%). Out the TOP-30, the following countries showed record growth figures in the first quarter: Slovenia (+ 67.7%), Serbia (+ 52.9%), Mexico (+ 34%) and Montenegro (+ 30.6% in annual terms). A number of popular «winter» tourist (both beach, and excursion or ski) destinations, however, showed a significant decline in popularity among Russians. Thus, in the first quarter, according to the data of the Border Guard Service of the Federal Security Service of Russia, the flow of tourists from Russia decreased in India (-11.5% ) and the United Arab Emirates (-10%). The Czech Republic, traditionally popular in the winter among the Russians, showed a drop in Russian tourist traffic in January-March by 8.1%. As for Norway, it showed -6.4%. Austria showed a drop in tourist arrivals from Russia by 3.9% (other European countries with ski resorts were in positive trend – Italy + 20.7%, Switzerland + 4.2%, France +1.2 % and Bulgaria + 8.7%). If we take the 12 most popular destinations, where the Russians like to go for a beach holiday in winter, in the I quarter of 2019 the total outbound tourist flow from Russia was 1 million 480 thousand people. This is only 2.13% more than in the first quarter of 2018 (1 million 449 thousand). Although in January-March period Cuba, Mexico and Sri Lanka showed an impressive increase among the “winter beach” destinations, in absolute figures the volume of tourist traffic to these countries is relatively small.

  • Travel Industry

2019 – Sales in June: Here is the statistics of June sales of one of the biggest networks of travel agencies MGP (Magazin Goryaschikh Putevok, lit. Store of Last Minute Tours). Based on reliable data about sales of all agencies of MGP, the sales index is calculating, reflecting activity on the tourism market in Russia. The Index is formed from the average number of tours sold by MGP agencies over the past two weeks and takes into account the duration of the trip and the number of tourists. For a reference point, 1 January 2013 is taken, equating to the value of the Index on that day to 100 points. The index of MGP is calculated every day and published at midnight. MGP, one of the biggest network of travel agencies in Russia, has introduced the new weekly report Average Check which is the basic indicator of consumer activity and price trends on the travel market. The main thing about the new «average check» report is that it is not an abstract average price per tourist per destination, but real data about tours, grouped by countries and number of tourists in a tour: single travelers, couples and families with 1 or 2 children. Information is updated every week. The lowest prices are market in green, the highest – in red, so it is easy to understand which destination was the most expensive this week for family holidays or for simgle travelers. MGP has 420 offices in its network, and 380 of them work through united booking center of MGP, which data are used for sales index. So, theseare more relevant data, since they are collecting each day from each sale of each MGP agency in Russia. The most comprehensive sales report in Russia.

  • Competitors

Russians wait for Egypt Red sea resorts: Russian ministry of foreign affairs informs that 24.06.2019 the ministers of foreign affairs and defense from Russia Sergey Lavrov and Sergey Shoigu and Sameh Shoukry and Mohamed Zaki from Egypt met in Moscow. That was the fifth round of the 2+2 Russia-Egypt foreign and defense ministers’ talks. The leaders of diplomatic and military offices of two countries discussed the situation in the Middle East and North Africa. Special attention was given to the uncompromising fight against terrorism in the Middle East and North Africa. The main topic was the problem of security in the region. They also spoke about common efforts for peace establishment in this region and about creation of zone without mass destruction weapon in the Middle East. This strategic partnership of Russia and Egypt gives the opportunity to think about mutual cooperation in different spheres. The progress in the implementation of the agreements reached by the presidents of two countries was marked. It includes large-scale strategic projects such as nuclear power station construction and setting up Russian industrial zone in Egypt where 19 Russian companies are willing to participate.In this respect tourism experts from Russia wait the announcement of opening the direct flights to Red sea resorts from Russia this autumn.

Federation Council: tourists were advised not to travel to Tunisia: Several members of the Federation Council advised Russian tourists to refuse tours to Tunisia due to security reasons. In their opinion, the radical militants will now select tourist zones for terrorist attacks. After a series of explosions that have now thundered in Tunisia, Andrei Klimov, the deputy head of the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs, said about the danger in countries where the political situation is unstable. “I would not have the courage to give recommendations to all the tourists today, but when my friends ask me, I do not recommend going to the places where the Arab Spring took place,” underlined the senator. Another member of the Federation Council, Olga Kovitidi, is more categorical: she believes that Tunisia at any time can turn into another hot spot on the world map: “The main thing is that we should understand that today it would be safer to rest on the territory of the Russian Federation.” It is noted, that the recommendations of the Federation Council are not official. So, tourists who want to return the purchased tours to Tunisia cannot count on a full refund for them. Cancellation of tours with full payment of funds is possible only after the declaration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or Rostourism about the insecurity of trips to the country.

Tours to Albania are sold twice cheaper than at the stage of early booking: “On the first flight of the charter chain from Moscow to Tirana, which arrived in the Albanian capital the day before, all the seats were sold,” informed Larisa Akhanova, the head of PR department of TUI Russia tour operator on June 19. TUI Russia is the customer of Ural Airlines flight program. The first attempt to launch charters to Albania TUI took a year ago, then the first flight was to be held on June 19, 2018, but it had to be canceled, as the whole subsequent program. The partners, Space Travel and Intourist, abandoned their blocks of seats on the boards, and TUI did not succeed in full loading of aircraft themselves. According to observers, this year the tour operator was able to negotiate with the airline about the favorable tariff conditions for flights. Such a conclusion can be made by comparing the cost of full tour packages to Albania and tours that include only ground service. The difference is 23 thousand Rubles (322 Euros) for two persons, that is, round-trip air tickets cost 11.5 thousand Rubles (161 Euros) per person. This is a reasonable price, experts say. The cost of ten-day tours, departing from Moscow on June 18, ranged from 36 thousand Rubles (503 Euros) for two. Tour packages of the same length with a departure on June 27 were offered from 47 thousand Rubles (657 Euros). This is noticeably lower than the prices at the stage of early booking: we recall that in January the tours cost from 84 thousand Rubles (1,174 Euros), and in March – from 78 thousand Rubles (1,090 Euros) for two persons. Observers believe that the future prospects of the flight program to Albania depend on ability of the tour operator to keep the price level acceptable to tourists.

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