Reducing the number of foreign visitors in Russia in 2016
According to the statement made by the head of the Federal Agency for Tourism Oleg Safonov during a meeting of the Russian president with Government members held on Thursday, the number of foreign tourists visited Russia in 2016 has decreased in comparison with the previous year.
Specific reasons of this decline have not been named. According to the head of the Federal Agency for Tourism, there is an increase in tourist flow for one countries and a decline for others. This summer Russia has been visited by the same number of tourists from the US and the UK as this time last year, while the number of French visitors increased by 10%. The experts also note an increase in flow of tourists from India, Vietnam, Iran and other eastern countries. An increased number of Chinese citizens entering the country as part of the visa-free group tourist trips came up to 50%.
Earlier, the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR) reported that tour operators note an increase in the number of tourists from Asia coming to 30–40% that will result in a positive dynamics of the inbound tourism up to 20%.
However, according to the tour operators, the number of foreigners returning to Russia is still low – as a rule, tourists visit Russia only once. An increasing number of visitors results in shortage of accommodations that can push the prices up and cause the outflow of tourists. The decline in the value of the ruble did not have the expected effect: although a range of services became cheaper for foreign tourists, the total cost of the tour package was not reduced.
According to the Russian Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat), in the first quarter of 2016 Russia was visited by 252 600 foreign tourists that is 1% less than this time last year. The total number of visitors in Russia decreased by 14% in January-March and amounted to 6.425 million foreign tourists.