The number of Russians traveling abroad is growing

The number of Russians traveling abroad is growing


Despite the reduction in tourist trips by Russians to the traditionally popular Turkey, the volume of bookings for holidays abroad in the first quarter of 2024 increased by 10–20% year-on-year. Fellow citizens have now begun to travel more often to exotic countries, in particular to Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Cuba. However, further growth potential will be hampered by exhausted opportunities to expand the geography of flights and the increasing cost of travel, market participants warn.

The volume of booked tours in the first quarter of 2024 increased by 12% year-on-year, according to preliminary data in talks about growth of 22% year-on-year, Fun & Sun – about 20%. Vice-President of the Russian Union of Tourism Industry Dmitry Gorin speaks of an increase of 15–20%. Yandex Travel and note an increase in ticket sales in January-March by 5–10% year-on-year. On foreign routes the figure increased by 30%, on domestic routes by 5%, notes. OneTwoTrip spokeswoman Elena Shelekhova says the share of international flights booked in the first quarter increased by 7.2 percentage points year-on-year to 20.7%.

Dmitry Gorin associates the growing activity on outbound routes with an increase of 10–15% per year in the volume of available air transportation and stabilization of currency fluctuations. “Last year the ruble was in different values,” he says. believes that travel activity can also be stimulated by partial simplification of visa procedures: in the near future, Bulgaria and Romania will begin issuing Schengen visas.

A positive factor for the market was the increase in sales depth. notes that the figure for the year increased by 14%, amounting to 2.5 weeks. indicates that in Russia the depth increased by 15%, to 30 days, in foreign countries – by 43%, to 32 days. Tourists feel more confident and are ready to plan, the company believes.

Against the backdrop of a gradual expansion of travel geography, the share of the most popular foreign destination, Turkey, in the demand structure is decreasing. Yandex Travels notes that the number of tickets booked to the country decreased by 7% year-on-year. OneTwoTrip states that Antalya has dropped out of the ten most popular foreign destinations, and the share of Istanbul has decreased by a third.

Mr. Gorin notes that Turkey’s share is partially being eroded in favor of Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Cuba. notes that demand for Mauritius increased eight times over the year, Vietnam – four times, Cuba and Indonesia – twice, Thailand – one and a half times. Yandex Travel analysts do not rule out that an additional factor in reducing demand for Turkey could be high inflation in the country and, accordingly, increased local spending by tourists.

Aggregators are also recording a slight decline in activity in some post-Soviet destinations that were in high demand in 2022–2023. Yandex Travels notes that the number of air tickets sold to Armenia decreased by 12% over the year, and to Kazakhstan by 13%. At the same time, interest in Azerbaijan and Georgia, according to analysts, increased by 39% and five times, respectively. China shows a pronounced increase in interest: the number of tickets sold to the country in the first quarter increased 14 times year on year.

Mr. Gorin notes that 3–4% of the country’s population now regularly travel abroad, while in 2019 the figure was 6–7%. But further potential for market recovery, he said, is limited. The expert explains that the possibilities for expanding the geography of flights under the sanctions have virtually been exhausted; we can only talk about a slight increase in the volume of available seats. In his opinion, demand is also affected by the limited solvency of the population: expenses for foreign holidays continue to increase. According to estimates, the average bill for booking trips to Egypt in the first quarter increased by 17% year-on-year, to 154.3 thousand rubles, in the UAE – by 17.5%, to 209.2 thousand. rub., to Thailand – by 10%, to 236.7 thousand rubles.

Alexandra Mertsalova


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