Russians are packing their swimsuits into suitcases and looking towards Asian beaches. It cannot be said that the sites of tour operators are now full of offers, as it was in the pre-Covid era and before the special military operation, but there is no choice left.
The most popular tours for today are Turkey (the cost of a ticket is from 60 thousand rubles per person), Egypt (from 60 thousand rubles), Thailand (from 130 thousand rubles), the United Arab Emirates (from 80 thousand rubles), the Maldives (from 120 thousand rubles ), Sri Lanka (from 95 thousand rubles), Indonesia (from 170 thousand rubles) and the Seychelles (from 180 thousand rubles).
Tour operators claim that prices for the most popular beach destinations have increased this season, but only slightly - within 10-20%.
“There is a demand for tours. Compared to the pre-Covid 2019, there are even more sales now. The average check is 250 thousand rubles. This is usually Turkey, a family of three, 10-12 days”, - Olga Svechkova, head of the Liberty travel company, described the situation.
“Yes, there is a demand for beach tours. And since May, we have been recording an increase in such demand”, - Arina Alyunina, a representative of the Alfa Tour travel agency, confirms .
The head of the Java Tour travel company, Oleg Akselrod, adds that the situation is changing quite quickly». For example, sales of tours to Sri Lanka have dipped at the moment - due to the state of emergency declared on the island (it was lifted on May 20), but the Maldives became popular.
At the same time, representatives of the tourism industry emphasize that although there is an increased demand for Asia, but due to restrictions and sanctions imposed against Russia, the tourist flow has noticeably dipped. “Five planes a day used to fly from Yekaterinburg to Antalya. Now there are five planes a week, that is, a reduction of 7 times”, - Oleg Axelrod calculated.
“A lot of destinations for mass tourism are now closed precisely because of the lack of direct flights. There is demand, but there is no opportunity to send tourists”, - agreed a representative of the Classic Travel Center travel agency.
Mikhail Maltsev, executive director of the Ural Tourism Association, supported the forecasts of market participants: “Mass tourism has suffered significant losses. There are many reasons, one of them is the reduction of the flight grid. Charter carriers are simply afraid to send planes abroad. Therefore, we see a drop in demand for foreign tours, but with the exception of some destinations - the Maldives and Seychelles, for example, are among them”.
Several market participants noted that Ecuador unexpectedly "hatched" in the VIP segment this season. Clients are increasingly turning to travel agencies with a request to organize an individual tour to South America. The option is completely non-budget, but there are those who want to fly for the exotic through Istanbul to Quito. The price of the issue only for the flight is at least 150 thousand rubles.
Representatives of the tourism industry believe that Europe, having tightly closed the sky from us, will still not be left without Russians.
“Some with transfers and for big money are forced to fly there for personal reasons (real estate, relatives, business, treatment, study), others are just kamikaze. And their stubborn desire to get to Europe in such an acute period of Russophobia, at a time of political instability, to be honest, surprises me. Many European countries have begun to lift restrictions on Covid-19, and I think that Russians will now begin to actively fly to EU countries. Since April-May, we have been fixing the demand for organizing such trips: single tourists contact us because of problems with payment systems, and operators have the opportunity to make payments abroad”, - says one of the leaders of the travel agency.
Oleg Axelrod, on the contrary, notes that geopolitics and the economic situation have greatly adjusted the plans of the Russians. “Not a single country was closed to Russian citizens. Crooked, expensive, long, but you can get anywhere. Coronavirus restrictions in Europe have begun to be lifted, and our compatriots will, of course, fly there anyway. Another thing is that if a person yesterday dreamed of flying to Rome for his birthday, today he postpones such a trip for later. People's plans are adjusted, people quickly adjust to the current situation”, - Oleg Axelrod believes.
The Association of Tour Operators of Russia is already reporting an increased interest of tourists in Spain, which has simplified entry the day before. “The cost of a round-trip ticket from Moscow to Barcelona with transfers in Istanbul is now at the level of 111-128 thousand rubles per person. Tourism market experts in the Spanish media write that demand and bookings are approaching pre-pandemic levels, and Spain may again become one of the leaders in inbound tourism in the post-COVID world”, - the Association reports.
At the start of the tourist season, Maya Lomidze, executive director of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia, repeatedly publicly emphasized that one of the trends of this season is its unpredictability. “This is, perhaps, the main characteristic of the season: the situation can change in any direction at any moment”, - Maya Lomidze warned.