21 Dec 2023 18:08

About 500,000 Russians to spend holiday season abroad - ATOR

MOSCOW. Dec 21 (Interfax) - The demand for international travel during the New Year holidays has grown 35% in 2023, compared to the previous year, and about 500,000 Russian tourists will go abroad this season, the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR) said.

"On average, the market increase in sales of outbound destinations for New Year tours is 35%, as of December 21, compared to last year. About 500,000 Russian tourists will spend vacations abroad between December 25 and January 8," the ATOR quoted its vice-president for outbound tourism, Space Travel general director Artur Muradyan, as saying.

The growth mostly derives from a larger number of countries with direct flights to and from Russia, ATOR said.

The leading New Year destinations are the United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Egypt, Turkey, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Cuba. Abkhazia and Indonesia are also popular.

"As for destinations with the maximum year-on-year growth, tour operators mention the UAE, Thailand, Southeast Asian countries in general visited by few tourists last year because of restrictions or the unavailability of flights (Mauritius, Vietnam, Hainan, or Indonesia). Some companies note the growing popularity of European tours, first of all Italy, although the amount of such tours is insignificant in absolute numbers," ATOR said.

The average cost of New Year tours has decreased in foreign currency, while growing by approximately 34% in rubles after the ruble fall, it said.

"The ruble fall is the only reason for the increased cost of New Year tours. Prices in foreign currency did not grow, on the contrary, they have decreased, because flights are cheaper thanks to broader transportation. A ticket to the UAE cost about $1,000-$1,500 per person in late December 2022, and now it costs $700-$1,200," Muradyan said.

The most expensive New Year tours bought by Russians are the Maldives (about 1 million - 1.2 million rubles for two), Indonesia (440,000 rubles), Italy (420,000 rubles), Sri Lanka (350,000 to 400,000 rubles) and Thailand (305,000 to 347,000 rubles).