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For the past 18 months, the tourism industry has consistently been in limbo: countries open and close their borders, some regions impose new restrictions while others lift them. However, the market is gradually coming to life and learning how to exist and develop under new conditions. In this regard, it is extremely difficult to foretell what the nearest future holds for the industry. Experts from RMAA Travel, a travel marketing agency, analyzed current statistics data, research, and market surveys and, based on them, presented their list of tourism development trends in Russia in 2022.
The focus on sustainability, safe travels, health care, ecotourism and other tendencies of 2021 will still stay with us in 2022. However, preferences of Russian tourists have changed a bit in the context of rapidly changing conditions for travelling, which has also affected newly emerged market trends.
Now Russian tourists strive for 'carpe diem' and try to discover new countries where they only used to dream to go, but always preferred other, more old-shoe destinations such as Turkey and European countries. The results of the first three quarters of 2021 have demonstrated an unprecedented growth of interest in such unusual destinations as Tanzania, Maldives, Cuba, Seychelles.
Analysts of RMAA Travel expect this trend to only gain strength in 2022. That is why countries that used not to treat Russian travellers as a key segment of their target audience should pay more attention to the Russian market and start promoting trips to their region even now.
The year of 2021 showed an upsurge in interest in cultural, industrial, active, and culinary tourism in Russia among local and foreign tourists.
The Federal Agency for Tourism creates various programs to stimulate active development of new destinations and creation of programs for domestic travels, for example, a project of National Tourist Routes. New, modern forms of travel product presentation are being developed. In light of the increased demand for domestic travel products, tourism industry representatives improve the customer service level.
Russian tourists have actively investigated domestic trails for a year and a half, which allowed for a quite sustainable interest in this area. Besides, customized tours and unique programs have got a lot of play. Therefore, we expect that the trend for development of domestic tourism in Russia will survive in 2022.
Experts have often noted Russia's enormous potential in terms of development of eco-, rural, and agritourism. However, as Dmitry Chernyshenko, Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, told as far back as in May 2021, 'The share of ecotourism in the overall structure [of the Russian travel market] accounts for only 2% now. This is little or nothing. According to the World Tourism Organization, Russia takes the fifth place in the world out of 133 countries by the number of natural objects. At the same time, [Russia takes] the 108th place by tourism openness, by accessibility [of territories].'
This is despite the fact that there are nearly 12 thousand specially protected natural areas in Russia that occupy 13.6% of its total area.
What is more, today tourists do not settle for just observation. They are eager to get emotions and impressions from new experience: fishing, hunting, mushroom picking and berrying and even field work and livestock management—and you can try all this in Russia. Development of new eco-routes in the country will become a priority for not only 2022, but also subsequent years and will make it possible to increase the flow of both local and foreign tourists.
As forecast before, it will be most difficult for business tourism to recover. However, it is already clear now that the pre-pandemic level of trips will be unlikely reached. The shift to remote communication technologies, restrictions on travelling at home and abroad, limiting internal safety regulations of companies inevitably lead to the general reduction of travels in this business segment.
According to polling data from the Aeroclub business travel agency published in September 2021, domestic business trips are permitted fully or with restrictions in 94% companies of Russia.
The situation with foreign business trips from Russia is still complicated. Business trips abroad are prohibited in every fifth company in accordance with their internal regulations. They are fully permitted in 13% companies only. However, even they are limited with restrictive measures in a country of arrival and a restricted number of flights to the most in-demand destinations.
With this in mind, travel companies will have to reconsider their approach to promotion of their products for business tourists in 2022 and to make the conditions of their purchase more flexible and attractive.
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About the Author
Vadim Tylik – Russian entrepreneur, Founder and President of the RMAA Group. Vadim helps foreign companies to develop and implement marketing strategies in Russia and CIS region, create performance based media campaigns in order to expand more effectively on the Russian market.