2012 was the year when Russia became of the most dominant and important source markets in European tourism, so much so that it has begun to encroach on the status of German and British tourists’ spending.
Italy have been profiting from an influx of Russians, their retailers benefitting the most, with Spain also feeling the benefits of this new source market. According to reports in RIA Novostil In 2012, Russian’s spent more than €1.5 bn in Spain as well as saying there were 750,000 visitors to Spain from Russia in the same year.
The beaches and cities of Turkey have long-harboured Russian holiday-makers and in 2012 it seems that the word has spread further. Turkey experienced a 40% increase in numbers of tourists that put the number at 1.8 million if reports from the main tour operators are to be believed. The next country to benefit is Greece; with the number of Russian’s going there increasing by a fifth in 2012 with estimates now suggesting that around 900,000 took a holiday there.
It’s not all beaches and bikinis though. Russian’s are going without access to the beach resorts that are found in resorts like Egypt, Spain and Greece. The amount of Russians visiting Germany has also increased by around a fifth, totalling 760,000 visits last year. Germany has become one of the five most popular destinations for Russian tourists, and according to Rosstat the first half of 2012 saw 334,600 visits to Germany which was up from 324,400 last year.
Austria, a country popular for skiing and food holidays, and a country where the most important industry is tourism, has found new wealth coming in from the Russian’s who want to holiday there. The Austrian National Tourist Office says that 396,600 Russians visited between January and October 2012, which was a year-on-year increase of 17.8%. With the number totalling 490,000 visitors from Russia in the whole of 2012, The Austria tourist board is hoping to attract upwards of half a million in 2013.
In Italy, organised tour operators have seen substantial rises in their business from Russia, with an estimate 666,000 going on some sort of organised tour, which was a rise of around 15% when compared to the previous year.
The Cypriot’s were happy about the upswing in Russian tourism, with their total visitors from there increasing by a quarter, and Russian tour companies now putting the total number of visitors at approximately 640,000.
There are suggestions that Russian tourism to Europe is booming because visas for the Schengen zone are now able to be issued in more Russian cities by countries that include Slovakia, Poland and Austria.
Among independent Russian tourists, the favoured destinations were Spain, Germany and Italy, closely followed by Thailand, France, Ukraine, USA, Turket, Czech Republic and China. In most instances however, few Russians will travel without tour operators and a recent survey points to evidence that shows only 5% of internet users in Russia buy tickets or accommodation online.
The countries with the largest growth in searches were Lithuania (+145%), Malta (+126%), and Denmark (+119%).