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Russia's Outbound Travel on the Rise

Search ASIA Travel Tips .com 27 September 2005

Russia’s emerging middle-class is driving annual growth rates of more than 7% in outbound travel, according to a new Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) report entitled Total Tourism Russia. PATA’s Strategic Intelligence Centre (SIC) launched the executive summary of the report today at a PATA Travel Mart 2005 educational workshop entitled “Russia’s Potential”.

Russian outbound volume, including same-day visits and travel for non-tourism purposes, has risen by an average of 7.4% a year since 2000, according to the report. Of the 24.5 million reported outbound trips in 2004, 54% of them were to countries outside the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

The top five Asia Pacific destinations for Russian travellers in 2004 were China (PRC)*, 1,792,193; Korea (ROK), 156,876; Thailand, 118,966; USA, 64,228; and Japan, 56,554. (*Russians stopping over in Hong Kong SAR on their way to China (PRC) may be counted twice.)

Some 44% of Russian trips to non-CIS countries were for holiday, 32% for other private travel and 13% for business, according to official Goskomstat data.

PATA Director-SIC Mr John Koldowski said, “Leisure travel out of Russia is currently growing at a much faster rate than business travel and most of that has been for sun and beach destinations, such as Goa in India and Pattaya, Phuket and Koh Samui in Thailand.”

Commenting on MICE and business travel, Mr Koldowski said, “Anecdotal evidence suggests that business travel is picking up after several years of depressed demand. The niche offering the greatest opportunities is employee incentive trips, especially to favourite holiday destinations, and particularly to those that offer visa-free entry or visas on arrival.”

Reflecting their growing disposable incomes, spending by Russian travellers abroad has increased 15.5% per year since 2000. Mr Koldowski commented, “The reputation of Russian tourists as big spenders, especially on branded and tax-free retail goods, has been backed up by credit card surveys over the past year.”

Boosted by growth in outbound and domestic demand, Russian air traffic increased 16.7% in 2004 to 83 billion revenue passenger-km (RPK). In 2004, just under 50% of all Russian trips to non-CIS countries were by plane.

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