Tour season 2022: who is to blame for the fact that it is expensive and bad to rest in Russia

Tour season 2022: who is to blame for the fact that it is expensive and bad to rest in Russia

Tour season 2022: who is to blame for the fact that it is expensive and bad to rest in Russia
Analytics

19 September, 11:43
Photo: 1MI
The tourist season in 2022 has turned upside down: going abroad is a problem, cashing out dollars and euros at a favorable rate is another quest, passports hang on registration. Just a gift for the development of domestic tourism! But a second Turkey has not yet appeared on the Black Sea coast. What got in the way?

Victoria Pavlova

In 2022, the flow of tourists from Russia to Europe decreased by 95%. Now perhaps the only option to relax is to travel through the expanses of the Motherland. It would seem that everything is in favor of domestic tourism. But by the end of 2022, Rostourism expects an internal tourist flow of 61 million people, which is 6.2% less than in the calm 2019, when all borders were open and travelers could choose any direction.

In general, only the summer months can be called successful throughout the country. According to Rostourism, from May to August, about 25 million people rested in Russia - this is even more than the record year of 2019. But the good weather season in most regions of Russia is rather short. Whatever one may say, the southern resorts make the main cash desk. And here the fun begins. Crimea this summer sank by 20-25%, Anapa showed a decline of 7-10%. The first half of the summer turned out to be especially difficult for the tourism industry - then Crimea did not receive half of the tourists compared to last year. But Turkey with its "all inclusive", according to the Association of Tour Operators of Russia, by the end of the year 4.7 million Russians can visit on tours - this figure is even more than last year.

Novye Izvestia, together with experts, tried to figure out why the domestic tourism industry was never able to seize the chance and make a breakthrough.

Why do we still need the Turkish coast?

The summer of 2022 shows that Turkey is our everything, as if the Russians have not discovered a friend of the country in the last decade. Vice-President of the Russian Union of Travel Industry Yuri Barzykin says that all other destinations pale in comparison to Turkey in June-August:

- Outbound tourism is more than 3.5 million tourists. The top most popular foreign destinations include Turkey, with more than 2.1 million tourists. Its share in the total volume of vouchers abroad amounted to more than 60%. Tours to Abkhazia (800 thousand tourists, including sightseers), Egypt, the UAE (180 thousand tourists), the Maldives, Belarus, Armenia, Georgia, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, as well as Venezuela were in demand. The flow of tourists abroad in the summer of this year turned out to be less than in 2019 by more than 2 times.

And it will not be possible to attribute everything to the difficulties with logistics. Just organized tours in Russia are expensive. Earlier , Novye Izvestia found out that in Sochi in September the average price tag for one person vacationing in Sochi in a modest 4 * hotel with breakfast is 65 thousand rubles, and in the real "four" on the all-inclusive system - 120 thousand .rubles Anapa also in 4 * "all inclusive" will cost 120 thousand rubles, only you still need to go there by bus because of the closed airport. In Turkey, for this money you can get a 5 * hotel in quite expensive resorts - Kemer and Marmaris.

Tourism expert Nikolai Melnik confirms that the choice of Russians is influenced, first of all, by the issue of cost. Affordable prices in Turkey, according to the expert, are the result of a very long, many years of work:

- It's called the Turkish hospitality model. It has existed for a very long time, since the 90s - they work for the masses. They have a very large number of rooms, good contracts directly with their suppliers, due to this they try to reduce the price for the end consumer. And the second point is that tourism makes up a large part of the Turkish economy. The state invests in the development of tourism, its various segments. Hotels receive government subsidies for development. In Russia, this is just beginning. We are at the very beginning of the journey, and Turkey has long advanced in this regard and provides a template, conveyor rest.

Alexei Musakin, Vice President of the Russian Hotel Association, points out that Turkish hotels have a big advantage over Russian ones due to developed state support programs:

- In recent years, when they began to lose the tourism market due to the coronavirus, Turkey initiated a lot of supporting measures for preferential purchases, taxes, and infrastructure support. We are also doing this now, our country is simply significantly larger than Turkey, in Turkey this can be done precisely, but we cannot do it this way. And plus the inflation that is going on in Turkey and the ratio of the lira to the dollar.

But are domestic resorts available for those who seek maximum savings and are ready to give up a round-the-clock feast? Nobody canceled a trip to the Crimea with a tent, and coastal cities are full of establishments not with haute cuisine and delicacies, but with pasties, shawarma and other post-Soviet fast food.

The trip from Moscow to the Crimea will be about 4000 km, it is quite possible to meet 20 thousand rubles for gasoline. The depreciation of a machine is highly dependent on how and where it is serviced. If you repair a conditional Lada Vesta in the nearest service, then the cost of scheduled maintenance during the trip can amount to a couple of thousand rubles. Instant noodles cost up to 60 rubles per pack, sausages with pasta, some fruit from the local market will cost another several thousand rubles per family for a two-week vacation. Plus related expenses like excursions. With due desire, you can relax in Russia for 35-40 thousand rubles per family for 2 weeks. There will be no comfort at all. If you want to put up a tent on a flat area in a campsite - this is another 500 rubles per day (7,000 rubles for two weeks). And if you stay in hotels or rented apartments, you need to prepare at least 3,000 rubles a day, or 42,000 rubles in 2 weeks. With the same success, you can go by car to Abkhazia (which, according to statistics, our compatriots do) enjoy a mild subtropical climate, only instead of dubious fast food there will be local cuisine, and accommodation can be easily found for 1800-2500 rubles per day.

Ruthless Russian service

If you want to relax in Russia without bothering to choose a flat area for a cramped tent or looking for an apartment in Khrushchev and other "chicken coops", of which there are still plenty in Crimea - lay out a tidy sum. But maybe at least for this money there will be a good service? Also past. The combination of price and quality remains amazing even for the traveler and travel blogger Maxim Rashchenkov:

- There is very little competition in the market. Demand is high, good offers are few. The following reason follows from this: the fat appetites of our hoteliers who want to earn money here and now. I'll give you an example. Resting this year in Anapa in a hotel by the sea, I still don’t understand the amount of 5500 rubles per day for a room without meals, without animation, without a beautiful private territory. That is, it is enough for a hotelier to build a box and take money for accommodation.

In general, the classification of accommodation places, in addition to hotels, is simply absent in Russia. There is no legal basis for it. When choosing a place to stay, tourists often have to rely only on subjective reviews on the Internet, which can be very different from your idea of the quality of service. According to Alexei Musakin, this is a serious problem:

- The problem of guest houses is that they are still outside the legislative field, and their number is quite large. Here we are talking, on the one hand, about unfair competition - therefore, there are no requirements for them that are for hotels, none, even lightweight ones, while they can sell at any price and, accordingly, do not have to fulfill any requirements. From the point of view of the guests, this is also a problem, because they cannot understand what service they will receive in this guest house.

But even if you decide to go on your own, without contacting hotels, you will most likely also encounter mediocre service, Andrey Shiryaev, co-founder of the BeriKemper car rental service, adds:

- Both entrepreneurs and officials in Russia are often distinguished by ossified thinking and are extremely reluctant to adopt the existing world experience. In the south of Russia, most campsites are created according to old patterns. There is a platform for a car, somewhere a connection to electricity, somewhere a hose with water, a corner made of plywood and a sheet of metal with a toilet. Everything. And this is considered the norm. So the best places in the south are those that have not been touched by the hand of man. At the same time, there is no need to reinvent the wheel; in Europe, a lot of campsites have stars like hotels. And they offer the right service. If the regional authorities enter into a dialogue with business, then we will have interesting options with decent hotel-level service. There are good examples in Karelia. But this, unfortunately, is still isolated cases .

Nikolai Melnik also sees problems with the quality of service, primarily due to a shortage of qualified personnel:

- A very big problem with personnel. If you call at least in the Moscow region, at least in Sochi, talk to the reception of hotels even for 4-5 stars, you will see a lot of flaws. This applies not only to communication with the reception, but also to cleaning rooms, providing services, serving food, etc. In our country, unfortunately, the segment of training in tourism and hotel business does not work so well, and the state pays little attention to this. If the state carried out a marketing campaign that it is good to work in the field of tourism, it is profitable, it is status, then, perhaps, something would change in our country. In the meantime, we are graduating a fairly low-level staff who work in tourism, who do not want to work at all, but only want to receive money.

Sewerage - an inaccessible luxury

Rest in Russia is the destiny of people not only with a strong psyche and a philosophical outlook on life, but also with a strong stomach. The end of summer on the Black Sea and intestinal diseases have long become synonymous. The number of people complaining about rotavirus is not decreasing. The reason is the same: in many cities of Russia, treatment facilities are still exotic. According to the Accounts Chamber, 88% of wastewater to be treated is discharged into water bodies untreated to the required degree, and 95% of rural settlements, in principle, do not have treatment facilities. In the same Crimea, treatment facilities work as expected only in the area from Yalta to Foros, where status sanatoriums were built. Crimean authorities promise new treatment facilities in Krasnoperekopsk, Evpatoria and Pervomaisk. But it's hard to say when the work will be completed. For example, work on the construction of the Yuzhny treatment facilities in Sevastopol has been delayed for several years - now they are planned to be completed by 2025.

Sochi Mayor Alexei Kopaygorodsky and Rospotrebnadzor are talking about the increased incidence of rotavirus. But many are already accustomed to and treat the infection as an integral part of the holiday, not hoping that the state will solve this problem, notes Alexey Musakin:

- Every season ends in the south - they always talk about rotavirus. There has never been a single season when a certain number of cases of rotavirus were not detected. It's a dirty beach, dirty water. In principle, it is useless to fight this globally. Gradually it will go away, just like the plague has gone.

There is support, but not that

There are enough problems, but the state has recently become more active in terms of providing support to enterprises in the tourism industry, says Timur Islyaev, a member of the working group for the development of autotourism in the Russian Federation under the Federal Tourism Agency, co-owner and CEO of GRT Consulting:

- New measures of state support for tourism and stimulation of demand have been launched, for example, a tourist cashback with compensation of 20% of the cost of the tour, in the program of which more than 4.3 million people participated over 2 years and the total amount of paid cashback in the amount of 15.6 billion rubles. By the end of 2022, 30 national tourist routes will be launched according to uniform standards. A grant program for SMEs in tourism is in demand. It is planned to create a new number of rooms (2500 new rooms in total), including prefabricated modular hotels. In 2021, 38 projects with a total investment of more than 200 billion rubles have already been selected and are being implemented under the program of preferential loans for investors for the reconstruction or creation of hotels. In general, until 2030, the state plans to allocate 566.1 billion rubles from the federal budget and 72 billion rubles from regional budgets to the national project.

That's just giving support and getting the desired result is not the same thing. Opora Rossii Vice President Alexey Kozhevnikov, summing up the meeting of the State Council for the development of tourism in Russia, pointed to the extremely low profitability of the tourism business:

- Low profitability in the tourism industry (according to the Federal Tax Service of Russia, 5.9% or 55% of the average for the economy), as well as a high fiscal burden (9th place out of 21 in terms of fiscal burden and 3rd place in terms of burden on insurance premiums) do not allow us to successfully compete with the leading countries in the field of tourism. Well, in terms of "price / quality" we cannot compete on equal terms for a tourist with Turkey. Conditions for the development of such competitiveness have not been created. If we want to be no worse than in Turkey, then we need to create conditions for businesses that are ready to invest in the development of tourism infrastructure in Russia. According to the national project "Tourism and hospitality industry", by 2030 it is planned to attract more than 2 trillion rubles to the industry. rubles of private investment. But how realistic is it? This is possible only if the profitability of tourism infrastructure is increased to 20% per annum. Then the tourism industry will be able to attract long-term credit money and private capital. What does that require? Reconsider the fiscal burden on the industry, prepare construction sites throughout the country with a connection to the engineering infrastructure, and remove administrative barriers. This is exactly how they acted in the UAE, Singapore, and Turkey. And they received an explosive growth in investments in the tourism industry, which created modern resorts for millions of tourists from all over the world.

In the meantime, as experts note, state support measures are often not fully thought out and not systematic. Alexey Musakin draws attention to specific cases of distortions that reduce support to nothing. VAT was reset only for hotels, and large tour operators can no longer claim their VAT for deduction, and tours do not get cheaper as a result:

- We have zeroed VAT for 5 years for hotels, so far only for accommodation and included room rates, other VAT services are subject to VAT (this applies to large hotels). But we have large tour operators that form the market. And they are not exempt from VAT. Accordingly, now this VAT is fully borne by them. And since they form the entire market, this is also not very good.

And Alexei Cherepakhin, CEO of the Russian service for booking hotels and apartments TVIL.RU, draws attention to the lack of entrepreneurial literacy of domestic hoteliers who do not always know how to work with finances correctly:

- The financial education of entrepreneurs is very weak. Many choose the STS system of 6% and pay from the total turnover, instead of 15% from the difference between income and expenses, which would often be much more profitable and protect against fluctuations in hotel occupancy. Entrepreneurs are too lazy to collect documents and prove expenses, choosing a simpler 6% system.

With cashback, too, not everything is smooth. Aleksan Mkrtchyan, a member of the presidium of the Russian Alliance of Travel Agencies , points out that the spring cashback program has captured June, when demand is already high, and hoteliers, knowing about the desire of people to buy a tour with cashback, increase prices by 20% for the duration of the state program. Subsidies are more than offset by rising prices, and neither Rostourism nor FAS can do anything.

Aleksey Musakin believes that a completely different kind of support will be effective for the industry:

- The hotel business, and indeed the entire tourist industry, is staff-intensive. This is different from innovative enterprises, because it is impossible to replace waiters and maids with robots. In the cost structure, up to 60% is the wage fund, but with taxes and payments to insurance funds. If we reduce payments to funds with more than 30% to at least 15%, then these 60% will already turn into 50%. Which is significantly better. Our profitability of hotels over the past 20 years has fallen significantly. When I started the hotel business in the 2000s, I had an operating profitability of at least 38-39%. Now it at many hotels, especially city ones, sometimes drops to 12-15%.

Of course, you can travel around Russia, you just have to come to terms with the fact that an inexpensive trip will take place in Spartan conditions. And if you want a little comfort, pay as for Turkey and even more. Just do not expect guarantees of good service: many in the tourism industry work on the principle of "eat what they give" - the Soviet people are used to everything. But in addition to the tourist mentality, experts see a lot of objective problems that the authorities can fix, starting at least with an audit of support measures.

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