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Marketing of Asian tourist destinations in Russia. Нow do Asians gain the attention of Russian tourists?



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Asia countries have become attractive for Russian tourists. And with each year the level of such attractiveness is increasing. Some countries have even overtaken yraditional leaders, for example, Vietnam, which receives assistance from the Vietnamese government to increase tourist flows, in particular, from Russia.

What attracts Asian countries to Russian tourists? What and how do they advertise to interest those who want to have a good vacation and attract the attention of travelers from the Russian Federation? Read the material on the RMAA Group blog and you will find out the answers to all of these questions.

The 5 most popular Asian countries among Russian tourists

According to statistics for the first 9 months of 2017, compiled by the analytical agency TurStat, which is engaged in research of the tourism and travel market in Russia and the CIS, the top 5 Asian countries, which attracted the most Russian tourists include:

• China, 1,478,000 (+ 25%)

• Thailand, 706,000 (+ 26%)

• Vietnam, 360,000 (+ 37%)

• Mongolia, 68,000 (+ 26%)

• Japan, 49,000 (+ 44%)

 The percentage of growth in the number of Russian tourists in parentheses is provided in comparison with the corresponding period in 2016.

Tourism Analysis

Russians go to Asia not only for vacation. The data which follow on the next page clearly show that travel is quite often connected with business.

Outbound tourism market in Russia, million tourists

Other data indicate an increase in the number of young tourists. There is also an increase in family tourism.

Main trends: decrease in the cost of travel, independence, online

A poll of the general public shows that most tourists prefer not to use the services of travel agencies.

Plan to use the services of travel agencies

If in 2017, just under half did not use the services of travel agencies, in 2018, according to experts, 80% will not seek assistance from companies engaged in organizing tourism.

By 2018 80% of tourists will be independent

Lack of a visa requirement as a means of attracting tourists from Russia

The degree of attractiveness of many Asian countries among Russian tourists is influenced by the absence of the need to apply for a visa.

Some information:

• When entering Vietnam for 15 days, Russians are not required to apply for a visa, regardless of the purpose of the trip;

• In Thailand, too, a visa is not needed if the purpose is tourism and the length of stay in the country does not exceed 30 days;

• Russians travel to South Korea and Indonesia without visas;

• You can enter Malaysia without a visa for up to 1 month.

Asian countries, with which Russia has signed an agreement for visa-free travel requirements, also includes Cambodia, the Maldives and the Philippines.

Why does visa-free travel affect the tourist flow from Russia? Russians do not like to do paperwork. Also, obtaining a visa can be a rather complicated process. Therefore, when choosing a country for recreation, many prefer to go on vacation where a visa is not required, eliminating the need to deal with the tedious application process.

Advertising approaches to lure tourists to Asia

Asia is, first of all, exotic, both in terms of its cultural and historical heritage. And its exotic nature is always shown in the tourism advertising in every Asian country. Excursion tours are widely promoted, with an emphasis on the most popular attractions. The attention of potential tourists is attracted by the opportunity to see centuries-old history, as well as to relax on beautiful beaches and sample exotic cuisine, try diving and other kinds of interesting pastimes.

Advertising on TV and on the Internet allows you to experience visually what a particular country offers. Potential tourists are shown the most chic places, their striking natural beauty, their awe-inspiring monuments of architecture and so on. It should be noted that Russian tourists have recently become very demanding. They are no longer interested in simple trips, the purpose of which is just to see this or that monument. Many prefer extreme tours. Therefore, in this case, the greater effect is caused by advertising, which demonstrates the possibilities of extreme experiences in various countries.

China and its tourist attractions

China has recently become one of the most interesting countries in Asia for tourists from Russia. As the travelers themselves say, this country is rapidly developing. In addition to traditional activities, such as sightseeing tours, getting acquainted with the Great Wall of China, visiting museums, etc., now it is very fashionable among visitors from Russia to go shopping, to take river cruises and excursions to modern places in Chinese cities and tasting traditional Chinese food.

In addition to the increase in the development of tourist destinations, today there is a strengthening of ties between Chinese and Russian companies which work in the field of tourism. They are actively exchanging experiences and using each other's opportunities to increase the demand for services, both in the direction from Russia to China, and from China to Russia. The observed strengthening of these ties positively affects the growth of the tourist flow in both directions.

Which cities in China are more likely to be visited by Russians? According to the statistics compiled by TripAdvisor, the world's largest travel website:

• The main destinations for recreation: Hong Kong (34.1%), Beijing (15.7), Sanya (14.8),

• The main areas for business: Beijing (19.4), Hong Kong (17.5%), Shanghai (14%), Guangzhou (14%).

These data are based upon an analysis of the reviews left on TripAdvisor, including the opinions of travelers from Russia and the first months of 2017. However, it is worth noting that the number of reviews of Russian tourists about China, since 2014, significantly decreased. But, as reality shows, the volume of tourist flow from Russia to China clearly did not decrease, but even increased. Therefore, we can assume that not all Russian travelers use the TripAdvisor site.

Increasing the degree of attractiveness of China to tourists from Russia is facilitated by joint major events. Recently, from March 1 to 12, the international exhibition Intourmarket - 2018 took place in Russia, within the framework of the VI Summit of the Russian-Chinese Tourism Forum was held, where more than a thousand interested participants gathered. The forum discussed some rather interesting issues, including that of visa-free travel between the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China.

Vadim Tylik, head of the RMAA Group, said, "China, as a tourist destination, has its own special strategy. This country mainly promotes certain regions, and not the country as a whole, which, in general, is correct, since China is a large country. For example, the province of Qinhuangdao, which is a customer of the RMAA Group, is promoted separately.  We also see the promotion of tourism to Sanya Island and even the isolated territory of China - Macao. Each of the regions has its own separate department, which is engaged in the development of tourism, and there is a separate budget. The remainder of the Asian countries are engaged in active branding of the country, rather than the regions separately. The same is true for Japan, Vietnam, etc."

Thailand Attractions

Thailand is a country that fascinates Russians with its many beaches, beautiful coastline, nightlife, numerous cultural attractions, and exotic cuisine. The volume of tourist flow from Russia to Thailand is growing every year. According to statistics, Russian tourism to this country increased by 26% since 2016.  Different reasons contribute to this increase. For example, in recent years, the number of direct regular flights, as well as charter flights from Russia to Thailand, have increased.

Furthermore, new tourist destinations have appeared, which are growing in interest among Russians. An example is “pilgrimage tourism,” which allows travelers to visit various attractions of the country related to the development of the religion practiced there.

It is worth noting that the attractiveness of Thailand as a tourist country is increasing because of the wide coverage of local beauty and directions on the Internet, as well as the events taking place in this country. YouTube has many video ads for beach holidays and other tourist attractions in Thailand. Quite a few videos are posted on this video portal by happy travelers who have already visited Thailand. This is understandable, because the exotic nature of this country is the main reason why it is interesting for Russian vacationers.

The Tourist Board of Thailand has an optimized site for Russians, a Russian language page on V Kontakte, the primary Russian language social medium. It should be noted that many countries do not take the approach of bringing interesting information about tourism in their country to Russians in a language they understand. The number of subscribers is 14,020 people.

Official vk account of Tourism Authority of Thailand in Russia

There is a similar page on Facebook with a colorful design and which can be understood by Russians, which describes the sights and attractions of Thailand. The number of subscribers to the page is 48,688 people.

Tourism Authority of Thailand Moscow Office

Tourism Authority of Thailand Moscow Office

While the Tourist Board of Thailand has not quite mastered Instagram, a group does exist there, but is in the early stages of development. However, on Youtube there are many videos which permit Russians to become acquainted with the beauty of that country, with its bright tourist destinations and other attractions.

A video for tourists who want to visit Pattaya can be seen here: 

A video advertising wedding tourism in Thailand can be seen here:

Japan: What Attracts Russians to the Land of the Rising Sun

In 2017, Japan’s attractiveness to Russian tourists increased. According to statistics, twice as many Russians traveled to the Land of the Rising Sun than in the corresponding period in 2016. The majority of tourists traveling to Japan come from Moscow (37%), Vladivostok (32%), and St. Petersburg (20%). This was officially announced by the head of Biletix, a well-known Internet service for those wishing to organize a trip abroad.

The Eastern Economic Forum was held in 2017, which discussed the construction of an automobile-railway branch from Hokkaido to Sakhalin. Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said that a cooperative offer has already been made to our Japanese partners. Russia is already ready to begin work. Japan is still in the process of considering the proposal received from the Russians. Accordingly, we can talk about very significant plans at the state level, which in the end will positively affect the increase of the tourist flow from Russia to Japan. Tourists will get even more opportunities to travel to this amazing country, either by train or by their own car.

For Russians, extensive information about tourism in Japan is presented on the Russian-language website of the Japanese National Tourist Organization. The organization leads a Russian-speaking group in VKontakte with a description of the popular sights. The number of participants is 4,165 people.

Visit Japan - Visit Japan / Sakura and Fuji, samurai, geisha and anime, sushi and ninja, matsuri, sinkansen, ryokan and onsen

Similarly, Facebook also has a Russian-speaking group with 19,096 subscribers.

This is a page about Japan. All photos and texts, comments and surveys on this page are devoted to Japan

There is a more extensive audience on Instagram. The number of subscribers is 67.4 thousand people.

JPO Tourist Office (JPN) JP Going to Japan?

Malaysia is a country for exotic vacations

Malaysia is an Asian country that attracts Russian tourists with its wide opportunities for beach holidays, diverse attractions and excursions, entertainment and shopping. It is an amazing combination of exotic and modern life. An example of this is the masterpieces of architectural art in Kuala Lumpur. Several facets of island tourism are presented, where numerous opportunities for recreation for Russians with varying financial levels are also available.

Organizers of tourist destinations say that they are interested in Russian tourists. Although Malaysia is a Muslim country, which makes it rather difficult to promote certain entertainment, such areas as ecological tourism have been developed here. In addition, Malaysia is often called "Asia in one bottle," which implies the fact that it is possible to get acquainted with the cultures of representatives of different countries, since Malaysia is a multinational country.

According to statistics, in recent years the flow of Russian tourists to Malaysia is increasing. So, according to the famous forum, for the first 3 months of 2017 this exotic country was visited by more than 24 thousand Russians, which is 31% more than in the same period in 2016. Against the background of other countries, these are rather impressive figures. In addition, the authorities of Malaysia are doing everything possible to increase the flow of Russian tourists, for example, by increasing direct flights from Russia. In recent years, an important step has been taken - now tourists from Russia do not need to obtain a visa to Malaysia.

The attractiveness of tourism to Malaysia is represented by the Tourist Information Center. A thematic group in Facebook is filled with interesting videos and photos for tourists. The number of subscribers is 3,414,041 people.

Tourist Information Center in Moscow

So far on Instagram there is only an account in the English language.

Malaysia Truly Asia Tourism Malaysia's official account

On Youtube there are 15,666 subscribers.

There are many bright and colorful videos.

An example of advertising for diving in Malaysia paired with a display of water attractions:

Another example - a video about Pangkor

Vietnam: about the increase in tourism

Vietnam is known for its yellow beaches, unique culture, attractions. It is in this country that the world's longest cable car is located, which, by right, is one of the most interesting tourist sites. According to statistics, provided by Interfax, in the first 10 months of last year 360,000 Russian tourists entered Vietnam. This is 37 percent more than in the same period in 2016. The most popular was Nha Trang, the capital of Khanh Hoa province in central Vietnam.

The Vietnamese authorities have set the goal of bringing the Russian tourist flow to 1 million per year by 2020. For this, steps will be taken to develop a program for the tourist promotion of the country. Thus, emphasis will be made on tourism in new regions. In addition, it is planned to develop the direction of health tourism. In 2018, tourists are invited to pay attention to Halong Bay, which is a UNESCO cultural heritage site. It became known that the Vietnamese Tourism Authority decided to organize more than 100 events, the themes of which relate to the history and traditions of the region where Halong Bay is located.

Mongolia and its tourist attractions

Mongolia over the past few years has become one of the leaders of the tourism industry. The number of Russian tourists in 2017 increased by more than 25%. Interest among Russians is stimulated by secluded Mongolian resorts, as well as the rapidly developing capital of the state. Mongolia is attractive for exotic natural landscapes and a centuries-old nomadic heritage.

By the way, it should be noted that about a year and a half ago, the authorities of Mongolia set themselves to make the country a world center for nomadic tourism by 2030. Until 2020, it is planned to increase the number of tourists to 1 million a year. There have already been various activities in this area. So, the international forum "Tourism of nomads" was organized within the framework of the conference on nomadic tourism and development of cities on the Silk Road.

Mongolia’s plans have already positively affected the increase in the number of tourists from Russia. In connection with the growth of tourist flow, the number of Mongolian tour operators by the middle of 2017 exceeded 270, tourist bases numbered more than 430, and almost 400 hotels are already ready to receive people. More interest in tourists is caused by sightseeing routes by an exotic, untouched nature. The second most popular attraction is event tourism, but also with a touch of ethnic exoticism.


In conclusion, our review article on the attractiveness of Asian countries for Russian tourists clearly indicates that tourist flows from Russia to Asia are growing rapidly. Not only are historical and cultural monuments, natural sights and wide opportunities in different directions of relaxation promoted, but many Asian countries no longer require visas.

Costs of travel can vary significantly. For example, the price to travel will depend upon the distance involved. But over the past years, transportation has been improved. It is possible that in the near future more Russians will be able to take advantage of the opportunity to visit Asian countries.

As it was said above, the recreational demands of Russians are growing. They want to see the new and the unknown. If you want to offer new tourist destinations, but do not know how to do this, to maximally interest Russian tourists, you can always seek the help of the specialists of the RMAA Group. In addition, we offer you to download our publication "How does the media-buying market in Russia work?". This book contains information on the development of various areas of media advertising in Russia in 2018 compared with the previous year. This information based on analytical digital data and forecasts will serve as a good tool for understanding which tools are best used to promote the proposed tourism services in Asia.

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About the Author

William Sudell is an American-based contributor to the blog who was a professor of business administration for 25 years, as well as a business consultant to both American and international companies

Author William Sudell
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