This year, operators will be able to sell 50% more New Year’s tours within the country than a year earlier, and the cost of vacation will increase by at least 18%, market participants predict. At some ski resorts in the country, including Dombay and the Elbrus region, there are practically no available hotel rooms left. This high demand contrasts with last year’s figures, when the majority of Russians, against the backdrop of the partial mobilization announced at that time, preferred to relax at home.
Sales of tours within the country for the New Year holidays may grow by 40–50% year on year, predicts Sergei Romashkin, vice-president of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia. According to him, the volume of bookings has already exceeded the total sales of last year. According to Sletat.ru estimates, Russia is expected to lead in the sales structure of New Year’s tours: domestic trips now account for 29% of bookings, demand has grown by 34% over the year. Travelata.ru notes that Russia’s share in the sales of tours for long winter weekends increased from 33% to 35% over the year.
If a year ago the total volume of holiday bookings for the New Year within the country doubled, then this year it has increased by 3.5 times, Intourist notes. Alean talks about a 50% increase in sales in Russia and neighboring countries. A representative of the Sochi resort Krasnaya Polyana notes that the number of bookings for the winter season this year increased by 15% year-on-year.
The current high dynamics may be associated with a low base a year earlier, says Sergei Romashkin. “The third and fourth quarters of 2022 for many were spent in the context of negative news about the announced partial mobilization, which did not contribute to sales,” he adds. Intourist representative Daria Domostroeva believes that the current growth in sales of New Year’s tours was facilitated by the summer weakening of the ruble: many planned trips for the winter holidays in August-September. She adds that tourists try to book trips around the country on peak dates in advance, fearing a shortage of places.
High demand has led to the fact that already in some ski resorts, for example, in Arkhyz, Dombay and the Elbrus region, there are practically no available rooms in quality hotels for the New Year holidays. In Krasnaya Polyana, tour operators, according to Sergei Romashkin, have available places in 21 out of 55 hotels for December 29 – January 2, in the Krasnodar Territory as a whole – 270 out of 700, in Kavminvody – 49 out of 217.
Alean says that all rooms in all-inclusive hotels in the Krasnodar region have been sold out.
Sergey Romashkin says that sales of New Year’s tours to the Krasnodar Territory increased by 20% over the year, to Karelia by 20%, and to Veliky Ustyug by half. The expert also speaks of a one and a half times increase in demand for winter holidays in Crimea, but recalls that at the end of 2022, tourists practically did not travel to the region due to the proximity of hostilities in Ukraine. According to Sletat.ru, 51% of tours booked within the country are in the Krasnodar Territory, 16% in St. Petersburg, 6% in Kavminvody. The share of Moscow is 5%, the Kaliningrad region – 2%. At Alean, the Moscow region is also among the most popular destinations: this region accounts for 7% of tour sales.
The average cost of a booked tour within the country for the New Year holidays, according to Sletat.ru estimates, is now 68.5 thousand rubles, which is 18% more than a year earlier. Expenses for trips to other countries increased by an average of 23%, to 237 thousand rubles. Travelata.ru estimates the average bill within the country at 88 thousand rubles, year-on-year growth of 24%. Russians spend an average of 62.1 thousand rubles on tours to St. Petersburg, and 100.7 thousand rubles to the coastal part of Sochi, which is, respectively, 16.8% and 46.6% more year-on-year.
Krasnaya Polyana points out that the cost of hotel rooms depends on demand, and pricing depends on the level of inflation and operating expenses. Sergei Romashkin estimates the average increase in hotelier rates at 10–15%, calculating that most of them will not significantly change their pricing policy before the holidays.