Russia Now Worlds 2nd Fastest Growing Outbound Travel Market

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Podcasts Videos Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Fuelled by its growing middle class and rising spending power, Russia is experiencing a travel boom like never before.

According to research by, which has just published its Russian International Travel Monitor (RITM), almost half (49%) of hoteliers worldwide have seen a rise in Russian guests in the last year, with 54% of those hoteliers seeing bookings grow by more than 10% or more.

Russia is now the worlds second-fastest growing outbound travel market in terms of spend, up 32% in 2012 and more than doubling since 2005. The RITM examines how hoteliers are reacting to this rapid growth, which last year saw Russians spend $43 billion on travel abroad, making Russia the fifth biggest outbound travel market globally.

Thai hoteliers are witness to this surge in new business. More than 75% have experienced an increase in Russian visitors this year and more than 90% expect an increase next three years. A large proportion of hotel operators in Thailand have also created Russian welcome information and dedicated marketing programmes.

In 2012, 35.7 million tourists from Russia took a foreign trip, up from just 7.7 million in 2006. The country has become a top performing growth market for many destinations. According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Russia is also currently the largest source market from Europe for visitors to Thailand.

In 2012, 1.31 million Russians visited Thailand and the projected number of visitors for 2013 is set at 1.67 million an increase of 27.8% from the same period last year. The TAT states that major factors behind this massive growth are the increased number of direct flights from Russia to Thailand and the Thai governments recent 30 day free Visa access policy.

However, with a population of more than 140 million, there is still a huge untapped market for foreign travel. Russia, along with India and China are the fastest growing markets for Thai tourism. The Tourism Authority of Thailand recognizes this and has tailor made specific marketing programs targeting Russians, with 2014 campaign promoting Thailand as a premier honeymoon and wedding destination.

Thailand in particular has seen a sharp increase in Russian visitors in the past few years. This is reflected in the RITM, with two Thai destinations coming in the top 20 - Phuket at number 11 and Samui at number 16.

Johan Svanstrom, president of, said, The meteoric rise of Russias outbound travel market is providing a welcome boost to hoteliers worldwide, with Russians among the highest spenders on hotel rooms globally. The rising size and spending power of middle class Russian travellers is a key driver behind this growth. Standing 104 million strong today, the group is set to account for 86% of the countrys population by 2020, with a combined spending power of $1.3 trillion.

With 92% of the hoteliers surveyed by expecting the volume of Russian visitors to increase over the next three years, many are making changes to deliver a warmer welcome.

Almost a third (32%) of hoteliers have already started to offer Russian TV channels while more than a fifth (23%) have hired Russian speaking staff, with a further 12% planning to do so.

To make sure that Russian guests have a more relaxing stay, 15% of hoteliers plan to offer translated welcome materials, in addition to the 20% that already do so, and a further 15% plan to start providing translated travel and tourism guides.

One in ten hoteliers (11%) plans to start serving Russian food.

Russia, Thailand

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