24 Jan 2024 19:10

Russian tour operators send more than 8 mln tourists abroad in 2023

MOSCOW. Jan 24 (Interfax) - The outbound organized tourist flow increased by 16.4% in 2023 from 2022, with tour operators sending almost 8.1 million tourists abroad, Artur Muradyan, vice-president of the Association of Tour Operators in Russia (ATOR) and general director of the Space Travel tour operator, said on Wednesday.

"The leaders in the tourist flow were Turkey, the UAE, Thailand, Abkhazia, Egypt, and the biggest growth was seen in Asian countries - Thailand, China, Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, etc. The Middle Eastern destinations and Turkey tentatively demonstrated an increase in the flow at a level of 20%-25%," Muradyan told a press conference.

The total number of trips abroad for all purposes at the end of the year will reach some 26 million, which is a 13% increase from the previous year.

"Tour operators sent at least 8.1 million tourists to 20 countries that are the most popular with Russians (against 6.9 million tourists in 2022). The number of tourists in the organized outbound segment increased by 16% from 2022. The organized outbound [tourist] flow is still one-third less than it was in 2019, when Russian tour operators served 12 million tourists on foreign destinations," Muradyan said.

The number of countries with direct flights increased from 32 to 40 in 2023, of which 28 countries are interesting in terms of tourism. "We have undoubtedly expanded flight programs. But it is still hard to surpass the 2019 results. That is, despite the popular opinion that the geography of flights is expanding, outbound tourism is still having problems associated with support and product range for Russian travelers," the expert said.

Only one or two of the countries that have recently opened are purely tourist destinations, and the rest are countries for transit or for business travel, Muradyan said. "They cannot compete with more popular beach destinations. Therefore, there are still not enough open destinations, and competition has exacerbated," he said.

According to the Border Guard Service of the Russian Federal Security Service, Russians made 21 million trips abroad for all purposes in January-September 2023.