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Leisure Travel Market: Where Do Russian Travellers Prefer To Go on Vacation?



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Total in 2018, Russian citizens made more than 44 million trips out of the Russian Federation—this is the information stated by the Border Guard Service of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation. This is 6.1% more than in 2017 (nearly 42 million trips).

Top 10 countries of the far abroad, except for bordering countries, where most Russians went in 2018, are:

1. Turkey (5.719 million, +26% increase compared to 2017)

2. Germany (1.297 million, +5%)

3. Thailand (1.173 million, +7%)

4. Italy (1.086 million, +22%)

5. Spain (961 thousand, +3%)

6. UAE (941 thousand, +23%)

7. Cyprus (826 thousand, - 5%)

8. Greece (808 thousand, -6%)

9. Tunisia (611 thousand, +17%)

10. Vietnam (531 thousand, +4%)

Top 20 of the most popular countries of the far abroad, except for bordering countries, are seen on the bar graph.

Source: Russian Federal State Statistics

Russian Leisure Travel Market: Size in 2018

If we consider Top 20 countries of the far abroad in terms of in terms of Russians’ trips namely for tourism purposes, here we can see certain changes.

Source: Source: Unified Interdepartmental Statistical Information System (UISIS), 2019

Turkey’s popularity among Russian tourists is explained by affordable prices, service of high quality (Russian choose all-inclusive hotels), short flights, and a visa-free regime. These factors are most important for people who want to spend their vacation with their family by the sea.

It is noteworthy that 9 of 10 most popular countries among Russian tourists are famous for its beach recreation. Probably, this is the cause of the biggest rating fall that Germany is experiencing (from the 2nd place in the overall popularity rating to the 6th place in respect of Russians’ travels for tourism purposes).

If we say about the share of Russians who visit foreign countries for recreation purposes, Top 5 is like this:

1. Tunisia, 88% Russians visit the country with a tourism purpose

2. Montenegro, 82%

3. Greece, 80%

4. Bulgaria, 79%

5. UAE, 78%

Apart from beach recreation, which is an evident criterion for choice of a leisure area for a great majority of Russian tourists, Russians are also attracted by countries that can be visited without a visa. Turkey, Thailand, UAE, Tunisia, Vietnam, Montenegro, South Korea become even more attractive in the eyes of Russian travelers, especially if it comes to a non-planned vacation when there is no time for visa processing.

Leisure travel market trends of 2019: where Russian tourists are going to vacate

According to results of a poll conducted by Romir research holding, one third of Russians (36%) are going to spend their vacation in 2019 by the sea or other waters. According to the poll, 17% Russians are interested in cultural recreation. Besides, 16% respondents are attracted by ecotourism, including hiking, fishing, and rafting. Only 8% respondents are going to spend their vacation in mountain ski resorts.

According to Romir, holidays at the seaside mostly attract youth aged 18-24, the most active part of the population. 53% respondents from this category are interested in vacations near waters. Respondents older than 60 years old, in contrary, are not going to spend their vacation by water—only one in ten (10%) expressed this desire.

Source: Romir, November 2018

* The poll covered 1,500 respondents aged 18-60 and more, living in all types of cities and in the countryside, in all federal districts. The selection represents adult population of Russia.

17% respondents want to spend their vacation productively and are going to see cultural sites such as museums, monuments, various attractions etc. People from the middle-aged category (35-44) are interested in such type of recreation a bit more (23%).

Ecotourism enjoys a relative popularity, including hiking, fishing, rafting and alike. 16% respondents are going to spend their vacation this way. Men chose ecotourism as a preferable option for a vacation twice as often, hitting 22% vs. 11% among women.

One in seven respondents (14%) is going to improve his or her health, spending a vacation in health resorts. This type of recreation is most popular among the 60+ age group and people with high income.

Only 8% Russians are attracted by holidays in ski resorts. Extreme sports are mostly interesting for young audience—15% respondents aged 18-24 are going to do winter sports on their vacation.

As for the fact that Russian tourists are mostly going to have a rest on the coast, results of early tour booking speak for it, too. According to Intourist tour operator, the most interesting foreign destinations for Russian tourists, which are Turkey and Greece, have become leaders in terms of the pace of early booking in 2019, while the demand for Bulgaria has significantly dropped.

Do you want to know more about the Russian travel market? Download our study Russian Tourism Market Report: Trends, Analysis & Statistics and learn more about the travel market environment in Russia and how to attract Russian tourists to your country.

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About the Author

Head of Digital, editor-in-chief of the RMAA Agency Blog

Author Yulia Vasilyeva

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