27 Dec 2022 18:41

About 9.5 mln Russians spend their vacation abroad this year - ATOR

MOSCOW. Dec 27 (Interfax) - About 9.5 million Russians spent their vacations in popular foreign destinations in 2022. This is 20% more than a year earlier; the total outbound tourism flow abroad for all purposes will rise 10%, Executive Director of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR) Maya Lomidze said on Tuesday.

"About 9.5 million people went abroad to the main destinations, not including the CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States] countries - these are classic tourists. Last year, their number was 7.5 million, so the growth is over 20%. The total number of all those who travel abroad with any purpose in all destinations will increase 10% compared with 2021. I remind you that in 2021 we still had coronavirus-related restrictions," she said at a press conference.

Thirty-two destinations with direct flights are open to Russians, and not all of them are in demand among tourists, Lomidze said.

"But the hits are clear: the number one destination is Turkey, which is almost close to the figures of the record high 2019. There are 5.3 million of these people, and these are the largest numbers in the outbound market. No destination has reached the numbers that Turkey has. The United Arab Emirates - almost a million, Egypt is under a million, and according to our estimates, there will be about 850,000 to 900,000 trips there. Then comes Abkhazia with about a million, too. And I cannot help mentioning the breakthrough growth of Thailand, the reopening of which was long-awaited by tourists and the [tourism] industry," she said.

Air travel to foreign destinations is a key issue to ensure the stability of the product and delivery of tourists to the place of their vacation, Lomidze added. Its shortfall had a substantial impact on outbound tourism in 2022, as real demand was higher than the volumes tour operators could offer.

"If there were more aircraft, more Russians would travel to the most popular destinations," she said.