External and internal tourism: the season is lost, but not for everyone

External and internal tourism: the season is lost, but not for everyone
External and internal tourism: the season is lost, but not for everyone
9 July 2020, 11:01Photo: Вести.ру
The pandemic robbed people of what they have learned to value the most during the recent decades - the liberty of movement. From March and to the end of June the international passenger air transport stopped, the railway communication was interrupted. The tourism industry is in a deep crisis. What's next?

Yelena Ivanova

There has not been such a fall since World War II. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), tourist flow is only for the first four months decreased by 44% compared with the corresponding period in 2019. In April 2020, the decrease was 97%, or 180 million people did not use travel services in April. Losses of the industry for 4 months of 2020 amounted to 195 billion dollars.

The lack of tourists particularly affected the main tourist destinations. Thus, tourism revenues in Greece for the first three months of the year decreased from 544 million euros to 7 million, in Italy they fell by 95% in March, in Spain - by 77%. As of April 2020, tourist flow in Turkey fell by almost 99.76%. In Russia, in the first half of the year, a decrease in revenues of Russian travel companies in the amount of 1.5 trillion rubles is expected.

Konstantin Goncharevsky, the head of a network of agencies, told NI:

“We began to reorganize all work on domestic tourism, because we do not have outbound tourism. And to feed staff, pay salaries, rent - everything is necessary. I don’t understand the size of the disaster, but I understand that this is a disaster. The sales volume of the domestic product, which is now available, does not cover office and staff costs”

All industry enterprises were affected. The load of Russian hotels in the first quarter decreased by two-thirds, and in April and May amounted to only 5-10%.

Yelena Papizh, the head of the Association of Tourism Professionals of the Rostov Region, says that already in March hotel profits in the region decreased one and a half times. Hotels serve corporate clients, and they come to Rostov in March and April, and because of the isolation regime, hotels are forced to miss this peak. The expert doubts that the shortfall in income will be offset by summer transit. 70% of the facilities are ready to close. “Some experts, of course, make rather optimistic forecasts that after the quarantine is lifted the tourists will return to Russian resorts. However, most experts understand that this is unlikely to happen. One of the reasons for this is the lack of the corporate clients”, - says Yelena Papizh.

Other tourism professionals are less pessimistic.

This year we have a very short season. The border is closed on both sides, but people still want to relax. Deferred demand is colossal. And yes, if tourists have a small budget, they still get out somewhere. This creates increased demand in a limited time. Domestic tourism is less marginal than foreign tourism. However, in May, everyone believed that there would be no season at all, and today they are faced with excessive demand", - says Maya Lomidze, the executive Director of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia.


In 2019, the number of tourists in Russia amounted to over 55 million people. Of these, about 45% travel at least once a year. In this summer tourist season, the Russians will not have another opportunity to travel due to the closure of borders. Therefore, among those who prefer to travel abroad, the majority (81%) want to make tourist trips around our country if there are comparable living and recreation conditions. Generally, More than half of Russians (56%) hold the same opinion.

According to the statistics of various analytical agencies, the five most popular destinations for domestic tourism in Russia include: Moscow and the Moscow region, Sochi, Anapa, St. Petersburg and the Southern coast of Crimea (Yalta, Alushta, Sudak).

Russian reservation service Tvil.ru named the popular tourist destinations for recreation in the summer of 2020. “Among the domestic destinations, travelers mainly choose Crimea and Krasnodar Territory, Leningrad Region and St. Petersburg are in third place, the cities of the Golden Ring of Russia are in fourth and Karelia is in fifth”, - said Oksana Shustikova, the director of Development and communications.

Gradually, the Russians move away from the quarantine shock and begin to take their leave. In May, hotel booking expenses rose by a third. This is stated in the study of the fiscal data operator "OFD Platform". “The average purchase receipt in the“ hotels ”category was 1,610 rubles, which is 13% higher than in April. At the same time, sales grew by 30%, ”RIA Novosti quoted analysts as saying. ATOR speaks of increased demand in the most expensive segment. “First of all, now expensive hotels are being bought up. They were bought first. Tourists who traveled to the Mediterranean Sea are now trying to get similar living conditions, ”says Maya Lomidze.

According to the press service of the Tvil.ru, greatest interest of tourists to the housing booking for enjoying the summer in the Tver region, especially in Ostashkov. "Tourists book cottages on Lake Seliger for 6 to 30 days with companies up to 10 people and spend an average of 31,821 rubles on accommodation", - says Oksana Shustikova.

According to the version of the Tvil.ru service, Karelia entered the top ten popular holiday destinations this summer. Tourists reserve cottages for June, July and August for a period of a week to a month. They will spend on living about 27 thousand rubles for a family or company of up to five people. The cheapest destination for summer holidays this year was the Bannoe resort on the shore of Lake Yakty-kul. Tourists book townhouses and cottages in Bashkiria for a period of 7 to 14 days and spend on accommodation 10 240 rubles for a company of 4-15 people.

The main problems of domestic tourism are not new: it is expensive flights and low level of service. Experts consider that it is impossible to solve these problems in such a short time, although the government and local authorities of the regions are taking measures to improve the supply. In addition, many tour operators working in the international market, using their knowledge and international experience, have begun rebuild their work, develop and offer Russian travel destinations, analysts say. Practitioners look at this problem more realistically. Konstantin Goncharevsky sees many problems along this path:

“The internal structure of tourism is absolutely not ready to work with tour operators and travel agencies. Hotels give tourists direct discounts, and we are superfluous in this chain. Why would a person go to a tour operator? There are no normal civilized relationships. Therefore, there is demand, there are no hotels, everything is already clogged. There is nothing to sell. The number of rooms is small, so there is nothing to sell. Agencies do not have the right to open new areas of law, tour operators are trying to offer Buryatia or Baikal, but this is not a product. Before you sell, you need to check everything, check the message, hotels, programs. Now this is nothing. There is no domestic tourism infrastructure”

There is no infrastructure, but no one has canceled the holidays and vacations. Where will the Russians go this year? The vast majority will travel, like every year, to the seaside.


Krasnodar Territory and Crimea plans to visit more than half of respondents (55%). In June the hotel vouchers costed from 18 thousand rubles for two people for 7 nights. Simple housing could be found from 500 rubles, comfortable - from 1.5 thousand rubles. Flights from Moscow to Anapa and back were from 6.4 thousand rubles per one, in the Crimea - from 7.5 thousand rubles., in Sochi - from 5.8 thousand rubles.

Price for the city leisure and alternative rest

Only 15% of the respondents showed interest in cultural and historical recreation and plan to visit Kaliningrad, St. Petersburg, Kazan this summer. The most budget tickets for July at the end of June could be bought to Moscow, Astrakhan, Volgograd, St. Petersburg, Rostov-on-Don, Novosibirsk, Naberezhnye Chelny, Barnaul, Gorno-Altaysk and Omsk. Their price ranged from 850 to 1400 rubles per person. Moreover, for accommodation in a three-star hotel in Moscow tourists paid from 1.3 thousand rubles per night, in Astrakhan - 780 rubles, in Volgograd - 1 thousand rubles, in St. Petersburg - 1.4 thousand rubles.

Tour operators also offer individual tourist routes to Lake Baikal, Altai, Kamchatka, Karelia and Khakassia, known for their nature. However, prices can not afford many Russian tourists, and this makes these goals accessible only to people with a high level of material wealth.

The rest will save on everything.

The chairman of the committee on tourism and the hospitality industry of the St. Petersburg regional branch of Delovaya Rossiya Irina Semyonova said in an interview for "Actual Comments":

“The problem is that tourists will have less purchasing power today. And it will drop quite seriously. What is more important here is not even the opening of borders, but the fact that enterprises have reduced costs, and accordingly the financial component of people who buy tours is reduced. Thus, they will choose more budget travel options. Now inexpensive offers in the market will be in demand, a jump in domestic tourism is also expected. Weekend tours and one-day tours will gain in popularity because people linger in isolation. For example, in St. Petersburg, trips in the Leningrad Region can become popular. People will want to spend the night not at home, but spend one or two nights near the house, which can be reached by personal transport. This will be in demand, as people need a change of atmosphere and experience, because they have been at home for a long time”

What needs to be done to develop domestic tourism?

Experts of the Plekhanov Academy believe that at the moment, for the development of domestic tourism, the product should come to the forefront, which local residents themselves can first use (between the cities, road infrastructure must be developed, cafes and ATMs are necessary).

Rest should be budgetary, as many Russians felt the effects of coronavirus on their own salary. In addition, prices for hotels and airline tickets within the country have become higher than pre-crisis. If it opens abroad, prices for air travel in Russia can reach the pre-crisis level, and hotel prices in the regions of the country will decrease again. But while this does not happen. The state should systematically approach the issue of domestic tourism and leisure for Russians.

Konstantin Goncharevsky, the head of a network of agencies, told NI:

“Here you can rely on the experience of Turkey, which launched a tourism project 40 years ago. At those times the state gave the interest-free loans for the supply of gas and water and leased land for 50 years. It took them 10-15 years to build such an infrastructure. You won’t solve it in one order, not in a year, not in two, not in three. This needs to be systematically addressed”


Market professionals restrained about the forecasts for his recovery.

Irina Semyonova, the Chairman of the Committee on Tourism and Hospitality Industry of the St. Petersburg Regional Branch of Business Russia, believes that "now it’s difficult to make a long forecast about market recovery. I believe that the recovery itself after opening the borders will be quite slow. Returning to the level and volume at which we were before the pandemic will take at least a year. If the opening of borders occurs in mid-June, then I think that we will reach the sales volume by mid-autumn. We have lost the summer season”.

Konstantin Goncharevsky, the head of a network of agencies: “There is a Union of Russian travel industry, which constantly informs government, but the process is not fast. Go to zero before the end of the year will fail. There will be no summer season anymore, this is obvious. Then there will be an autumn failure when the children go to school and the parents work. Maybe in the winter the winter reservation will begin, but there will be no gross trips to ski resorts and exotic countries in the current circumstances. Therefore, we need to endure and wait. Whoever survives will receive increased demand at the end of everything”.

As for the Cote d'Azur, Spain and Greece, the decision to open the borders was postponed to August 31, so this summer the Russians will not see Europe for sure. India and Thailand are still closed too. So, everything will depend on how the pandemic develops, and how quickly humanity finds a vaccine against the virus.

Found a typo in the text? Select it and press ctrl + enter