Russian outbound market continues to shrink

Predicted growth in Europe revised from 10% to 3%

New economic research shows that the Russian tourism market’s predicted growth in Europe has dropped by seven percentage points this year.

The European Travel Commission had originally predicted tourism to Europe would grow by 10% after more than 18 million Russians visited in 2013, making it the third largest source market.

But in the wake of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine where Russia illegally invaded Crimea and remains accused of the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines MH17, the predicted growth has been revised to 3%.

The slowdown is good news for some tour operators in Europe who have reported an increase in enquiries from European hoteliers, particularly in the luxury sector, who had previously focused on the lucrative Russian market.

The biggest falls in visitor numbers have been seen in Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain. But Cyprus, Greece and Turkey have all seen a boost in Russian visitors, with Turkey benefiting most as it represents 11% of the entire Russian outbound travel market, receiving four million visits in 2013. Reasons for this include the fact that these destinations offer good value for money, have no visa requirements and a long history of welcoming Russian tourists.

They have also been more relaxed over the imposing of sanctions against the country following the annexation of Crimea.

“The underlying fundamentals of outbound travel from Russia remain strong and the market is expected to deliver pent up demand in the medium to long term, especially to those destinations which maintain their presence in the market,” said Valeria Croce head of research at the European Travel Commission.

“In the past, the European tourism sector has proved remarkably resilient to different types of shocks, including political unrest, economic recessions and even terrorism. Despite the challenging landscape, the tourism sector is expected to confirm its role as key driver of Europe’s economy, growth and employment.”

TTG Digital

[pictured: Design shopping, Gothenburg; Nicho Södling/]

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