Now the tourist has again become a "herd" and by the New Year, the Russians have traditionally become more active. That's just the choice of holiday tours this season was very limited.
And don't crunch the French bread
The main trend of the New Year's tourist season is the final "divorce" from Europe. The trend has been fixed since the summer, but its strengthening by the end of the year was unanimously noted by all market participants.
According to the Vice-President of the Russian Union of Travel Industry Dmitry Gorin , the volume of bookings to Europe is about 10% of the figures for 2021. And it's not about politics or Russophobia, which escalated in the EU countries after February 24.
“This is primarily due to complex transport logistics, the inability to use cards of Russian banks abroad, plus problems with visas. Of the 26 countries of the Schengen zone, only 16 states continue to issue visas,” recalled Dmitry Gorin.
ATOR noted that if in 2019, a month before the New Year, from 50 to 100 applications per day were received from those wishing to go on vacation to Europe. “Now this volume seems fantastic with the current 10-15 hits per week,” reports ATOR Vestnik. And he adds that the cost of air tickets to Europe is often two to three times higher than the cost of the holiday itself. For example, a flight of one passenger to Barcelona and back (with a convenient connection and New Year's dates) will cost 209 thousand rubles. Flying to Paris or Rome on New Year's Eve now costs 160,000 and 93,000 rubles, respectively.
Dmitry Gorin adds that Russians who can afford it currently prefer France, Spain, Italy, Hungary and the ski resorts of Switzerland and Austria. “But now, due to more complicated visa procedures, we recommend getting it 45 days before your trip. Better than two months. For a number of countries, for example, Hungary, you can get a visa in two weeks, but it will be a single visa,” Dmitry Gorin adds.
Olga Svechkova, head of the Liberty travel company, who also confirmed the maximum minimization of European tours, nevertheless noted that the number of requests for intermediary services has increased - hotels, air tickets, transfers, excursions. “Independent tourists have become much less, that's for sure. But nevertheless, our issuance of tickets and reservations have increased many times over, because people do not have foreign bank cards, and those who were able to issue it still prefer to conduct transactions in rubles through us. Replenishing these cards later with foreign currency is also a problem,” Olga Svechkova explained.
And we need the Turkish coast
Turkey will undoubtedly become the top destination in 2022. According to the Vice-President of the Russian Union of Travel Industry, in 2021, when Turkey was closed for three months due to the coronavirus, 4.7 million Russian tourists visited the country. According to the results of the current year, at least 5 million tourists will go there.
“The Maldives also show a very big trend. And good dynamics in Egypt and the UAE. At least 600,000 people will travel to these two destinations a year. Such beach destinations as Sri Lanka, Seychelles, and Thailand remain popular. There are proposals for transportation to Venezuela and Cuba,” Dmitry Gorin noted.
According to him, the average price of a New Year's tour to the most popular destinations now ranges from 140 to 450 thousand rubles for two . “It all depends on the category of the hotel, the type of flight, whether there is a New Year's Eve dinner in the package or not. In general, tourists consciously choose 4-5 star hotels,” Gorin explained.
“If you look specifically at New Year's dates in the 2 + 1 format (parents and child, - ed.), then for less than 300-400 thousand in the Asian direction you can’t fly anywhere. Even the usual "five" in Egypt for 10 days costs from 300 thousand rubles and more. A five-star hotel in Thailand - everything is already sold there. And the issue price is 800 thousand rubles. Tours in the UAE depend on the emirate, but if you go to Dubai itself, then don’t come at all for less than 700-800 thousand, ”adds Olga Svechkova.
Several large tour operators in Moscow and St. Petersburg have noted a noticeable decline in individual exotic tours - Africa, South America, including Ecuador, where wealthy tourists tried to fly back in the summer. Individuals, according to market participants, have become much smaller: the category of VIP clients now increasingly prefers to fly charter flights.
Iran - season opened and closed?
According to the OneTwoTrip travel planning service, Iran has begun to be in demand among Russian tourists. Between December 30 and January 8, this country accounted for 20% of the total share of foreign hotel booking requests.
Several travel companies in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Krasnodar confirmed at once that this direction unexpectedly exploded in the fall. But further opinions of experts differ.
“Apparently, the Russians want to see with their own eyes what a country can turn into, which, like Russia, has been hit by so many tough sanctions,” the head of one of the Moscow travel companies, who wished to remain anonymous, joked sadly.
The head of the travel company Liberty adds: “Yes, there was a short-term surge of interest, but then there were unrest and demand immediately subsided.”
Roman Pyraev , specialist of the tour operator Svoi Lyudi, does not agree with his colleague: “Protests in Iran do not affect tourists in any way. They don't even notice them. And New Year tours to Iran are now in great demand.”
According to him, every week the company receives at least 4-5 applications from those wishing to fly to Iran. Most often they are married couples without children. A New Year's trip for two, including accommodation in a four-star hotel, will cost about $2,000. Plus, you have to pay for the flight separately.
But, as Roman Pyraev emphasized, tickets to Iran are relatively cheap: flights within Russia are sometimes more expensive. “This is one of the advantages of this direction. Tickets can be found for 15 thousand rubles. Plus, it's year-round. And right now there is no sweltering heat there, ”summed up the representative of the Svoi Lyudi tour operator.
It should be noted that the closer the New Year holidays, the more expensive the direct flight from Moscow to Tehran becomes. Now round-trip tickets cost about 40 thousand rubles. But you can save money if you join a group tour. For example, a collective voyage Tehran-Shiraz-Yazd-Isfahan costs between $930 and $1,450 per person, but again, this does not include the flight from Russia and back.
Expensive and nowhere
All New Year's tours for Russians, shrunk to a dozen destinations, have noticeably jumped in price this season. First of all, because of air travel.
“Of the 69 countries where we previously had direct air links, now there are direct flights to 24 countries of the world. And by the New Year, this figure will increase to 30. Everything else - with connections. And tickets, naturally, have risen in price. If a year earlier the average ticket bill was 400 euros / dollars, now it is already about one thousand dollars,” said Dmitry Gorin, vice president of the Russian Union of Travel Industry.
Early booking could reduce the cost of the New Year's vacation, but since 2020, when the lockdown "season" began, Russians have forgotten how to schedule months in advance.
“There are still vouchers for this New Year, but the principle of dynamic pricing applies in tourism. For the last seats on the plane or hotel, the price will be the maximum. If you buy a tour in advance, the price can be very affordable. But people plan trips in the last three years not 2-3 months in advance, but 2-3 weeks in advance. In 2021, 9 million Russians traveled abroad. This year it will be 7 million. This is due not only to the lack of open countries, the reduction in international air traffic and higher prices. At some points, we see a decrease in demand precisely because of the wait-and-see attitude of tourists,” said Dmitry Gorin.
Also, according to him, the Russians have significantly reduced the frequency of flights. “If earlier many Russians could afford international travel 3-4 times a year, now they make one conscious trip. Longer, with family or friends, but once a year,” summed up the head of the Russian Union of Travel Industry.