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Although Russian mass media glittered with headlines such as ‘Russians Exchange Turkey for Local Resorts’ or ‘East or West, Home is Best. More and More Russians Choose Local Resorts for Vacation’ in 2019, Turkey became a leader of the outbound tourism flow by a long shot. What is more, this is related to both data concerning the general outbound flow and the tourist flow in particular.
According to the Border Guard Service of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, more than 48 million Russians went abroad in 2019, with almost 18 million out of them having a tourism purpose. In general, the outbound flow has grown by almost 8% within the year. Turkey provided almost one-third of the annual growth.
Traditionally, bordering countries such as Abkhazia, Finland, Kazakhstan, China, and Ukraine are on top where Russians go mostly with private purposes (visiting relatives, shopping etc.).
Trips to post-Soviet states take a huge share of the outbound flow, equal to almost one third (31%) of all overseas trips from Russia. The next significant share of outbound tourism are bordering countries (Finland, China, Estonia, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Mongolia), equal to 23% of all overseas trips in 2019.
Regarding trips for tourism purposes, top countries are notably different. The only permanent leader is Turkey, where the tourist flow from Russia grew by almost 18%. At year-end 2019, the most notable growth of the flow of Russian travelers, as compared with 2018, is shown by China (+26%), France (+25%), Montenegro (+24%), Italy (+20%), with the top five closed by Turkey (+18%).
The detailed dynamics of the outbound flow from Russia is presented in the updated Russian Tourism Market Digest.
We fell short to ignore the leader and decided to give readers of our blog a deeper exposure to traveling statistics in this country. In fact, Russian tourists have loved staying in Turkey for quite some time now because popular ‘all-inclusive’ conquered travelers’ hearts and is still a favorite type of leisure among Russians. For the last 6 years, the year of 2016 has been a ‘failure’ for the country when the tourist flow dropped multi-fold due to a conflict escalated between Russia and Turkey. The conflict was successfully resolved, and as early as the next year of 2017 the tourist flow increased almost 6 times and exceeded all forecasts.
While Turkey had Egypt as a very strong ‘competitor’ before 2016—nearly 2 million Russians annually chose that country for their vacation—today nothing prevents Turkey from enlarging the tourist flow, including one from Russia.
You can find this and many other pieces of information in the quarterly issue of the Russian Tourism Market Digest.
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About the Author
Head of Digital, editor-in-chief of the RMAA Agency Blog