Posted 29 декабря 2022, 14:04

Published 29 декабря 2022, 14:04

Modified 29 декабря 2022, 17:10

Updated 29 декабря 2022, 17:10

Foreigners in Russia: is there a future for inbound tourism?

29 декабря 2022, 14:04

Foreigners in Russia

The days when noisy groups of tourists with cameras met in the subway and on the streets, apparently, are a thing of the past. The tourist flow of tourists entering Russia in 2022 decreased by more than 97%. What are the prospects for Russian inbound tourism, and do they exist at all?

Irina Mishina

According to the statistics of the Border Service of the FSB of the Russian Federation, in the second quarter of 2022, 3.079 million people entered Russia for all purposes of visits (this is not only tourism).

This is less than during the covid restrictions in the second quarter of 2021 (3,116 million).

The number of tourists in Russia has decreased by 99%

As for trips specifically for tourist purposes, according to the results of the first half of 2022, foreigners made 81.5 thousand visits to Russia.

For comparison: before the pandemic, in the first half of 2019 – almost 2 million visits. That is, in comparison with the docked time in the first half of this year, the foreign tourist flow decreased by 25 times.

Inbound tourism has been hit by many circumstances. It all started with the coronavirus pandemic. According to the Russian Union of Tourism Industry, over the past 3 years since the beginning of the pandemic, inbound tourism has decreased by 97%. At the same time, there is such an indicator as the number of border crossings with Russia. In 2022, about 7.5 million people visited Russia's borders with various missions. These were business, family trips, for training purposes, as well as for medical purposes.

At the same time, the number of people coming for purely tourist purposes has significantly decreased. In April-June 2022 main supplier of tourists to Russia were Germany and Turkey. "From which countries does Russia receive the most tourists today? Germany is in the first place (18 thousand people), Turkey is in the second (15 thousand people), Iran is in the third – 12 thousand people. For comparison, in 2019, 465 thousand German tourists alone visited Russia. According to these figures, it can be understood that the entry of foreign tourists into our country has decreased by 99%. But if we take into account other trips with other goals, there is a certain growth there. The main and popular tourist routes for today are Moscow and St. Petersburg. Other directions give very modest figures," Dmitry Gorin, Vice-president of the Russian Union of Travel Industry, told NI. Obstacles: aerial and financial

What currently creates obstacles for inbound tourism?

Experts name several factors. Among them is the issue of the introduction of an electronic visa for 52 countries, the lack of payment instruments on the territory of Russia, which has not yet been resolved. As you know, Visa and Mastercard do not work in Russia. However, according to the Vice-President of the PCT Dmitry Gorin, the issue of introducing a Tourist Payment Card will be resolved in the near future. It is expected that it will start working already in 2023. Also among the main reasons preventing tourists from entering Russia is the limited air transportation.

However, tour operators are already building work with new customers and new countries. Among the most promising countries, which can be suppliers of tourists to Russia experts call in addition to Turkey, Kazakhstan, Germany, Uzbekistan, and Iran.

"We are waiting for guests from China, where a travel ban is still in effect due to covid restrictions. We also expect tourists from the Middle East, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Iran, Turkey. Guests from Latin America could also come to us, but there are problems with air travel. The availability of air flights is an important point that leaves an imprint on inbound tourism", - ATOR Vice President Dmitry Gorin told NI.At the same time, there is such an interesting indicator as "border crossing".

It is curious that according to this indicator, the leading citizens of Ukraine who came to Russia last year as refugees, as well as for work and treatment.