The geopolitical situation has given carte blanche to Russian destinations. But experts do not predict new “stars” in the domestic tourism firmament. The total organized tourist flow in Russia is likely to remain at the level of last year, but the contingent of tourists will change.
The most important and, of course, noticeable not only to tourism professionals trend in 2022, the interviewed experts unambiguously call a significant “shift” of mass demand for domestic Russian destinations.
“The trend of growth in domestic destinations due to restrictions on outbound destinations has been observed since the beginning of 2020 . It will continue this year as well,” say representatives of ANEX Tour.
“Russia, as a popular tourist destination, has taken second place in our popularity rating for the summer of 2022, losing only to Turkey, the leader in demand for summer vacations” , – agree in FUN&SUN.
“Due to restrictions on outbound tourism due to the political situation, in 2022 the development of domestic tourism and its infrastructure will continue,” confirms ATOR Vice President for Inbound Tourism, Deputy General Director of Academservice Alexander Kurnosov< /strong>.
RUSSIAN TOURISM STILL LACKS THE SEA
True, as experts specializing in the domestic market note, there is no need to wait for global changes in the geography of trips: demand is due to the prevailing preferences of Russians, arising from their basic needs.
“Tourists, due to Russia’s climate, will always be overwhelmingly to want to relax on the sea, and we have not yet had new warm seas,” the interlocutors of ATOR Bulletin repeatedly joked.
Therefore, the leaders of mass demand, as before, remain the beach resorts of the Krasnodar Territory and the Crimea. But sightseeing tours and trips to Moscow and St. Petersburg do not lose their relevance. Together, these 4 regions of Russia generate more than half of the total tourist flow in the country.
“The structure of demand for domestic Russian destinations does not change, and we do not expect any new tourist “stars”. There are no new mass directions in Russia and cannot be – the demand is conservative and is reproduced from year to year. We have 4 super-regions – this is more than half of the tourist flow. All other 80 regions account for less than half. Approximately up to 1-2 million people per region, somewhere much less. Maybe this year Dagestan and Baikal will get a little more, 1.5 million each,” says ATOR vice president for domestic tourism, general director of the Dolphin tour operator Sergey Romashkin.
Sochi traditionally remains among the leaders in demand among all other destinations, – Coral Travel confirms, at the same time noting the growing popularity of other, previously less well-known regions of the South of the Russian Federation: these are primarily educational tours to the North Caucasus and medical and health tours to Caucasian Mineral Waters.< /p>
“An important factor influencing demand is that there are flight programs to all these regions,” the representative of the tour operator notes.
Speaking of domestic tourism trends this year, almost all tour operators also note growth interest in river cruises, which are now experiencing a real boom in bookings.
EXTERNAL CRISIS EXPANDED THE GEOGRAPHY OF DOMESTIC AIR TRAFFIC
The logistics component has really come to the forefront of this year's tourist news feeds, since the closure of southern airports has significantly affected the transport accessibility of a number of southern regions of Russia, where tourists are now forced to travel by rail or private road transport.
“There would be no happiness, yes, misfortune helped”: on the other hand, the released capacity of airlines was distributed to other regions of the Russian Federation, so there are no problems with their transport support this year.
“There is enough transportation everywhere except Crimea, airlines have flown massively across Russia, the most daring air communication projects have been implemented, since carriers are in a hopeless situation. More and more new regional and interregional flights appear in their schedule,” says Sergey Romashkin.
In particular, domestic Russian charters, which are gaining popularity, are also changing the picture of domestic tourism this year.
“When we talk about the growing popularity of holidays in Russia, it should be noted that for this, tour operators, Rostourism and local authorities are doing a lot of joint work, including the organization of charter programs. This synergy allowed us in the summer season of 2022 not only to significantly increase the network of charter chains by cities of arrival, but also to expand the geography of departures in Russia,” representatives of the tour operator FUN&SUN confirm.
THIS YEAR’S MOTTO: “WE WALK IN LAST TIME”
A drop in demand for tour operator services in terms of trips to Russia this season is not expected – even despite the difficulties in the economy. Experts explain: as a rule, travelers pay for vacations from the funds that they purposefully set aside, saved up, that is, these are not the “current expenses” of tourists.
“So far, the prices for holidays within Russia have been kept within reasonable limits. It must be understood that the behavior of tourists is inertial: this year's trips are financed from the funds that people have accumulated for 3-6 months. But the pressure on the labor market is growing. This year’s season is “walking for the last time!”, One of the experts characterizes the situation.
But the demand for foreign destinations will decrease by 30% -40% compared to the pre-pandemic reality.< /p>
“The number of trips within Russia, most likely, will not exceed the figures for 2021, and outbound tourism will already significantly decrease due to the impossibility of tourist trips to European countries, and can only partially be offset by new destinations, for example, trips to Asia,” says Mr. Kurnosov from Academservice.
“Indicators for outbound tourism will be approximately the same as last year. But compared to 2019 as a whole, not only for our company – it is much lower, by 30-40 percent, ”says the head of the advertising and PR department of the Russian Express tour operator Anna Filatovskaya.
THE HIGH-STANDING HOTELS ARE FASTEST TO BOOK
The most stable and predictable in terms of demand remains the segment of the highest level hotels – 4*-5*. This trend was typical for the last year as well. First of all, of course, this phenomenon is not due to the high requirements of domestic tourists, but to the lack of accommodation facilities of this level in Russia.
“First of all, hotels of the 4 * -5 * level are sold and most quickly get to the “stop” level. This is due to the fact that on the coast of the Krasnodar Territory there are only about a couple of dozen 5* hotels and no more than five percent of the total number of hotels are 4* accommodation facilities. With limited opportunities for outbound tourism, this leads to an increased demand for quality accommodation in the Russian Black Sea resorts, ”explain representatives of the tour operator FUN&SUN.
Responding to new challenges, an increasing number of hotels in Anapa are switching to the popular all-inclusive system, the number of hotels is also increasing to ultra all-inclusive. Hotels of lower categories (2 *, 3 *), according to representatives of this tour operator, are more often booked closer to arrival.
Market experts explain the growth of interest in hotels of higher categories, unfortunately, not by the growth in the well-being of tourists, but redistribution of demand.
Many tourists in the high segment are simply forced to “choose the best available.” Foreign destinations, which both travelers and tour operators with travel agents were counting on, are not expected in the same quantities.
THERE ARE NO MORE TRAVELING: OTHER TOURISTS STARTED TRAVELING
Interestingly, with a significant reduction in the outbound tourist flow and an increase in interest in domestic Russian destinations, experts do not note a particularly acute shortage of tourism infrastructure in 2022.
Yes, the possibilities of individual regions are undoubtedly limited by ground-based infrastructure, as I have repeatedly said, in particular, the director of the tour operator PEGAS Touristik Anna Podgornaya. But in general, in the country, as can be seen from expert assessments, there is no sharp heat of passion around booking tours in Russia this year.
This is explained, as experts believe, not by some large-scale expansion of the regions' capabilities to receive tourists. But by changing the portrait of the consumer of certain travel services within Russia.
Those who previously vacationed, for example, in Europe, will look for the most suitable (and rather expensive) objects in Russia for themselves. They will come to the place of those domestic tourists who will lower the bar this year to more budgetary, “average” options. Many consumers of the most budgetary segment of tourism services will be forced to refuse trips.
That is, if the total number of tourists remains at the level of 2021 in 2022, it will be a different audience, with different requests , which is important to understand for further building marketing communications and even planning infrastructure projects.
Follow our news – we will talk separately about excursion tourism trends and local trends from the regions.