Russian tour operators believe that the flow of foreign tourists to Russia is declining, because the rest in our country is too expensive for most of them.
According to Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, head of the Federal Agency for Tourism, accurate data on the entry of foreign tourists into Russia for 2007 is not yet available – they will appear three months later, when Rosstat, based on the data of the Federal Border Service of Russia, will summarize the official results of the year.
However, as the head of the tourism department noted, this year is likely to be marked by a decrease in inbound traffic.
“Among the main reasons is the rise in price of holidays in Russia. Our country is becoming too expensive for tourists, especially from the” dollar “countries,” said Strzhalkovsky.
According to the Federal Tourism Agency, over 9 months of 2007, almost 2 million foreign tourists visited Russia. This is 11.2% less than the same period last year.
Of the main “dollar” countries – the United States, Japan and Korea – the flow to Russia decreased, on average, by more than 20%. True, at the same time, there has been a surge in interest in Russia from traditional tourist countries – Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Great Britain, Sweden, Austria and even Australia.
Despite the fact that a visa to Russia is not cheap, unlike most countries that want to attract tourists, tour operators do not consider visas to be a cause of falling demand.
“Although a single-entry visa for entry into Russia costs an American tourist $ 120 and a Japanese one, for example, $ 100, we have no problems getting visas for our clients,” said Marina Levchenko, general director of the Tari Tour travel company.
According to her, with the invitation drawn up correctly, it is not difficult for a foreign partner to obtain a visa.
“What really scares off foreigners is the high cost of tours, directly related to the high cost of air and train tickets, and the high cost of living in Russian hotels, which are sorely lacking,” Levchenko emphasized.
Sergey Dzhansha, president of the Russian-Chinese club, which unites several Russian travel companies involved in both sending and receiving tourists from both countries, completely agrees with this opinion.
According to him, it is not difficult for Chinese tourists to enter our country: under the relevant agreement, they do this on a group visa, in a simplified form. However, the increase in the entry of Chinese tourists to Russia is hindered by high prices for accommodation.
“A standard room at the Moscow Cosmos 4 * hotel costs $ 250 per day. Add to this the amount of the flight – $ 600-700. As a result, a Chinese person pays more for a tour to Russia than a Russian going to China,” Jansha.
According to him, in Moscow, as a whole and throughout Russia, there are not enough inexpensive tourist-class hotels, with which China is “literally packed.”
“Therefore, more and more Chinese tourists are sent to other European countries, and not to Russia. And this year, the flow of Chinese to our country, according to Chinese statistics, has significantly decreased,” the source added.