The coronavirus pandemic and tourism: who wins?

The coronavirus pandemic and tourism: who wins?
The coronavirus pandemic and tourism: who wins?
18 January 2021, 09:56Photo:
The tourism industry has been hit hardest by the pandemic, and its prospects also depend on how the epidemiological situation develops further. There is no inbound tourism in the country, outbound tourism was limited to 5 destinations, and domestic tourism also fell.

Elena Fedorova, Natalia Seibil

In 2020, Russian tourists traveled abroad only in the first quarter and then another two months - in August and September. Therefore, the drop in outbound tourism will be 77.5% at the end of the year. Turkey remained the leader of foreign mass recreation, but judge for yourself: in 2019, almost 7 million Russians rested in Turkish resorts, last year - 1.6 million. The situation is similar for the remaining four open routes. The tourist flow to the United Arab Emirates has decreased by three times, 75 thousand people have traveled to Cuba, and 60 thousand to the Maldives. There is a Russian tourist boom in Zanzibar, with charters from 9 regions flying there. However, the absolute figures are sobering - only 34 thousand people rested in Africa.

Почти пустой аэропорт Внуково

In total, a little more than two million people traveled from Russia on vacation, taking into account the first, pre-pandemic quarter, while in 2019 12 million traveled abroad.

Industry professionals do not even want to talk about the prospects for 2021. The executive director of the Association of Tour Operators (ATOR) Maya Lomidze briefly describes the situation:

- The prospects of the industry directly depend on what will happen to the virus. The situation with the virus is unpredictable, so making forecasts is a thankless and meaningless task.

And although, as Lomidze said, the industry "took a hit" and the number of tour operators fell by only 6% , the profitability of the rest fell by 60% . Small firms suffered, as always. During the pandemic, 6,000 travel agencies, or every third, were closed. The rest survived as best they could. Every fifth enterprise went online and remotely, the rest sharply reduced their offices. Travel agencies reduced their staff by half, 50 thousand people were left without work.

Many of the industry workers surveyed by Novaya Izvestia in July 2020 had only one option - to switch to domestic tourism, although there was great skepticism. The skeptics won - despite the fact that domestic tourism remained, in fact, the only type of mass recreation for Russians, it also decreased - by 35-40%.

"Regions are closing one by one. Moscow, St. Petersburg: - 80% at the end of 2020, All companies that were engaged in external tourism have reorganized to internal", - says Maya Lomidze.

40 million people traveled around the country in 2020, up from 68 million in 2019 .

Анапа 2020

The main direction of tourism in the country, both in summer and in winter, remains the Krasnodar Territory. Only on New Year's holidays 400 thousand people visited the Kuban, which is 10% more than in the past.

In Russia, the infrastructure for summer recreation is poorly established, therefore, there were no new proposals in the last season, except for charters to Baikal and Buryatia. They will not be there for the new beach season either. No hotels are built so quickly, and restaurants and beaches do not open, not to mention the fact that a decent service cannot be established.

Красная поляна

In winter, the situation was better. There were record charters for ski resorts in the Kemerovo and Murmansk regions, since the main competitor of Russians - the Alps - remained closed.

The price of a ski vacation in Russia is comparable to that of a foreign one. The cost per person in the middle segment is 50-70 thousand rubles. This is comparable to the Alps, where a vacation per person costs about 1000 euros per week. But there is a big but: the ski infrastructure familiar to riders is only in the Krasnodar Territory. At some other resorts, for example, in Sheregesh, Kemerovo region, there was amazing snow, but the conditions, according to Maya Lomidze, are only "close to civilization":

- If Arkhyz was completely ready, although there was a 15% increase in the flow, it is not yet ready. There is still something to work on in terms of infrastructure and service. The Caucasus Mountains offer a very great perspective. There is a wide field for skiing, and they could be a hit if it had the same infrastructure as in Rosa Khutor or Krasnaya Polyana.

Roman Gareev , Associate Professor of the Department of Hospitality, Tourism and Sports, PRUE G.V. Plekhanova, doubts that Russians will be drawn to rest this winter:

- From January to March 2021, Russians are likely to travel minimally (less than 35% of tourists), focusing on out-of-town vacations in their regions, as well as short trips to neighboring cities with historical and cultural attractions.

In the summer, the situation of 2020 will be repeated, when, except for the Black Sea coast and Crimea. There will be nowhere to go. And in winter, maybe new winter resorts will catch up:

- Of course, we cannot call mass domestic tourism in 2021. I don't think the number of travelers will increase dramatically. In my opinion, the increase in comparison with 2020 will be (+ 10-15%), which will not even allow reaching the indicators of the pre-coronavirus period.

The government is developing a new national tourism development project. The industry hopes for him a lot because he has to invest in infrastructure and create recreational facilities. Now in Russia, many tourists can be received only in the Krasnodar Territory, Crimea, Moscow, St. Petersburg and Tatarstan. Maya Lomidze explains:

- Neither on Lake Baikal, nor in Altai, nor in Kamchatka anywhere are there such containers where it would be possible to send tens or hundreds of thousands of people at a time. The national project proposes the creation of such an infrastructure. There is more demand for this now than ever before.


The authorities do not want to develop individual territories or federal districts, they propose to develop directions. One of such mega-directions will be the Russian North: Vologda, Arkhangelsk regions, Yamal, polar regions of the Russian Arctic. However, significant issues remain unclear. For example, how the national project will be financed. More clarity will appear only in the middle of the year.

What the national project will not do is rebuild the industry. Within its framework, infrastructure will be created and hotels and other facilities will be built. But they will be able to accept people in the best case, a year after launch, and before that they will need to be built, moreover, not at the budget expense, but at the money of private investors ...

So the restoration of tourism in Russia will take place separately, and the construction of a bright future will also take place separately.

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