Better at home: how sanctions opened up Russia for us

Domestic tourism in Russia continues to develop strongly, largely due to the reduction in opportunities for recreation abroad and the expected influx of tourists from China and other friendly countries. As a result, according to experts, by the end of 2023 the volume of the Russian hotel market may reach 785 billion rubles, which is 10% more than last year.

However, despite the growth in the volume of the market, industry participants consider it “formal”, since the costs of tour operators have increased significantly, and if the cost of services rises sharply, you can be left without customers. It turns out that the market is growing, and there are not many opportunities for business development.

At the same time, statistics show that there is a positive trend, and the one who can take full advantage of it will win. The increase in demand for domestic tourism has led to a change in the behavior of travel lovers. For example, Russians began to book hotel accommodation an average of ten days before arrival, while during the COVID-19 pandemic, bookings were made on the day of check-in due to fear of sudden restrictions. Now tourists are afraid of a lack of quality hotels with the best cost of living in popular destinations. Increasing the depth of booking allows hoteliers to better plan their expenses and adjust rates.

To support the industry, the Russian authorities have taken several serious steps at once. At the end of June 2023, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that it was necessary to adopt a law on the exemption of tour operators from VAT before the end of the spring session of parliament. Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin also supported this initiative. The VAT Exemption Act for Tour Operators is one of the measures the government is taking to support the tourism industry in the face of economic sanctions.

After that, few doubted that the deputies would adopt the law, and it has already started working since July 1 of this year. The VAT exemption will be valid until June 30, 2027, which means that entrepreneurs have time and additional money for development.

In addition, a number of regions at their level have adopted legislative acts that allow businesses involved in the hotel or tourism sector to receive support from the state.

Every year in Russia new routes for tourists are created. This year the list was replenished with four new ones: “Legends of Dagestan”, “Petersburg. Peter. Empire”, “Intentionally #PROFIDS” in Nizhny Novgorod, “Imperial route” in the Sverdlovsk region. The routes pass through the most interesting places of the country and offer tourists to get acquainted with its history, culture and nature. For the regions themselves, this is also the creation of new jobs. The Ministry of Economic Development of Russia plans to create another 2025 national tourist routes by 50.

The regions themselves are trying to offer entrepreneurs the most favorable conditions for doing business. Somewhere they give grants, somewhere they compensate part of the costs, somewhere on preferential terms you can get a land plot. The result is already visible. For example, in the Khabarovsk Territory, the number of glamping sites has doubled. This direction throughout the country is now actively developing. This is due to the relative cheapness and legal simplicity of their installation, as well as popularity among tourists. Naturally, such glampings primarily develop where tourists have an interest in pristine nature: in the south, in Karelia and Siberia.

The preferences of tourists in the Russian Federation have changed a lot in recent years. The traditional route to the south for the sun, health and churchkhela, although leading in the list of preferences, attracts fewer and fewer people. According to the Russian Union of Tourism Industry, outdoor activities in the country are becoming more popular with demand for it in some areas increasing by 1,5 times last year, and further growth of 10-30% is predicted this year.

The largest increase in demand in the first half of the year was recorded for tours to the North Caucasus - by 25-30%. Altai (25%) and Dagestan (24%) were the most popular destinations among adventure lovers. The top 5 also includes North Ossetia, Adygea and Karelia.

In general, active tourism accounts for 4-5% of the total domestic tourist flow, which reached 2022 million people in 67,8. Most compatriots still prefer a quiet beach holiday, but due to the limited choice of foreign destinations, people are looking for new experiences within the country.

Increasingly popular are services that offer expeditions in comfort to remote and exotic places. The cost of such tours can vary from 300 thousand to 3 million rubles per person. Among the most popular destinations for wealthy tourists are the Kuril Islands, Wrangel Island, Franz Josef Land, Shantar Islands, Kamchatka.

Another trend is cultural immersion travel, where people can experience culture shock: spend a night in a tent with reindeer herders, participate in a mountaineer wedding in Dagestan, or meet a shaman in Siberia. One of the most sought-after destinations this summer is observing rare animals in their natural habitat, for example, traveling along the White Sea in search of beluga whales.

Thus, domestic tourism in Russia continues to develop actively, but often this development is not due to, but in spite of. As before, one of the main problems of domestic tourism has not been solved - the infrastructure is completely undeveloped. If at the very least the issue with hotels has been resolved in the south, then there is no end to some developing areas of work. Roadside service also suffers, although the size of the country makes autotourism a promising area. Another feature of Russian tourism is its seasonality. In addition to the summer months, a small surge in travel is recorded during the New Year holidays, and in spring and autumn, the tourism industry is forced to survive in anticipation of the high season. You can correct the situation by offering tourists event trips: festivals, holidays, shows. As soon as people have an answer to the question of what to do, vacations in November will no longer be a punishment for delinquent employees, and the tourism industry will receive a steady flow of customers.
1 comment
Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must sign in.
  1. Lieutenant reserve (Vasiliy) 31 July 2023 04: 20
    Domestic tourism is mainly for the poorer strata, those who are richer and now prefer holidays with their families outside the borders of the Russian Federation and the CIS. I am surprised by the price tags of travel agencies in Russia, almost everything is wildly expensive. In places of mass recreation, goods and services are also expensive. Why such price tags, if the quality of services, at best, is mediocre.