Analysis of statistics: why the average bill for tourist trips to Russia doubled after the pandemic
Despite Russia’s attractiveness to tourists and favorable exchange rates, inbound tourism has still not returned to pre-pandemic levels in 2019. One of the reasons, according to experts from the Russian Union of Tourism Industry (PCT), is the sharp increase in travel costs post-pandemic.
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“Now the average price of a week-long tour with flights is about two thousand dollars, while there are many more affordable tourist destinations around the world,” experts note.
According to the data Central Bank, in the first three quarters of 2023, the export of tourism services brought Russia $5.124 billion. At the same time, during the same period in 2019, the country received $8.610 billion from inbound tourism. The number of trips in the first three quarters of 2023 fell by more than three times compared to 2019.
However, it is worth noting that if previously the average tourist spent about $435 per trip, now this figure has doubled – to $858. This is explained by an increase in the average bill, which is associated with a decrease in the number of low-budget tours, in particular cross-border ones.
Thus, group tourists from China have been replaced by wealthier individual travelers, and the number of tourists from wealthy Arab countries has also increased.
General Director of the tour operator “Intourist” Alexander Musikhin emphasized that the final price of the tour is even higher. “The average gross price for a tour to Russia is about a thousand dollars. If you add flights, it’s already two thousand, which is above the average by world standards,” he said.
General Director of the company”Tari-Tour” Marina Levchenko explained that the cost of a week-long tour to Moscow for a thousand dollars includes transfers, accommodation in a 4* hotel, full meals and excursions.
According to the general director of the company “Svoy-TS” Sergei Voitovich, the demand for travel to Russia is now higher than a year ago. “We accept groups from Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iran, Indonesia, Thailand and Latin American countries. We receive positive feedback because there is a lot of interesting things to see in Russia. However, the average price of a tour is a serious amount, especially for family travelers, for example , from the countries of the Middle East,” he says.
The majority of the cost of the tour is flights. Vice President of PCT Dmitry Gorin believes that there are opportunities to reduce the cost of air tickets in Russia.
“One of the options is to increase the number of flights abroad. For example, with an annual increase in the volume of flights to Turkey by 50 percent, prices are reduced by 20-30 percent,” he noted.
Another option, in his opinion, is to subsidize regions at the federal level that are interested in attracting foreign tourists. Gorin also considers it important to abandon parity in international transportation and simplify access to the Russian market for foreign airlines.