EUROPE - Russia’s poor image overseas is holding back its inbound tourism industry’s ability to attract visitors from the US and Western Europe, according to new research revealed at the World Travel Market Vision Conference in Moscow.
Inbound tourism arrivals in 2012 showed solid growth to reach 26m, according to Euromonitor International. However, the research company’s Senior Research Analyst Mantas Kaluina told delegates at the WTM Vision Conference in Moscow that Russia was still reliant on visitors from neighbouring countries and its industry needs to work on tourism flows from the US and Western Europe.
Visa bureaucracy, security, infrastructure and the quality of tourism services contributed to Russia’s poor image overseas, he said.
The Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan accounted for nearly half of all visitors to Russia, sending around 6m, 3m and 2m respectively. Looking ahead to 2017, Euromonitor international expects little change, with the same three accounting for 8m, 6m and 4m arrivals.
Germany is the country's strongest Western European market, but the figures for 2012 to 2017 fall short of 1m for each year. Visitor numbers from China, however, are set to exceed one million by 2017.
Russia’s outbound market was up nine per cent in 2012, driven by the growth of the middle classes. The most popular destinations are local: Ukraine, Finland and Kazakhstan.
By 2017, nearly 40 per cent of Russian households will have a disposable income of more than US$25,000, the research reveals. Russia will account for an additional 8m overseas trips by 2017, the biggest increase apart from China.
Euromonitor International predicts the global travel industry will grow by four per cent between 2012 and 2017.
Reed Travel Exhibitions’ Director of World Travel Market, Simon Press (pictured), said: “The predicted growth in Russian outbound traffic is good news for the global industry, but the report shows greater support could be given to its inbound industry, especially to attract tourists from the large markets of the US and Western Europe.”
Moscow was the host city for the first of five WTM Vision Conferences in 2013. Next is Beijing (8 April), followed by Sao Paulo (24 April), Dubai (7 May) and Rimini (17 October).
WTM Vision Conference – Moscow is organised in association with Tour Business.
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