Ukraine and the subsequent crisis in the Crimea has been given much media attention in the past month. But like with everything a crisis is also an opportunity.
In 2013 a staggering 19 million Russians visited Europe, of which it is estimated 7.7 million were on holiday. Russians are the second largest foreign arrivals numbers in both Greece and Hungary. In Vienna, Austria, Russians buy more bednights in the city’s hotels than any other nation except for Germans and Austrians themselves.
Visit Cyprus announced that Russians more than compensated for the fall-off of traditional markets in 2013, and that if growth continues at current rate Russians will be number one in 2015. The Greek tourism board reported similar trends with growth of 70% 2012-2013, with arrival numbers at nearly 1.2 million.
Not only are the overall numbers and growth rates striking, but also the value of Russian tourists. The Spanish tourism boards claims that Russians spend 47% more than the average holidaymaker, and that Russian visitors added 1.8 billion Euros to the economy in 2012. The Managing Director of ENIT (Italian tourism board) estimated Russians to have brought 1.2 billion Euros to the Italian economy in 2013, and noted an arrivals increase of 15% on 2012. In Germany Russians are estimated to be the second highest spenders of all foreign tourists; and Marketing Manchester’s research revealed that the average foreign tourist spends 600 pounds in the UK, while the average Russian 1000 pounds.
In the current tension between Europe and Russia visa regulations threatened to be tightened. Popular press in Russia writes on how due to a new cold war Russians are unwelcome in European capitals. The fall of the Russian rouble against the Euro also makes Europe more expensive.
Russians will not stop to travel. Cold weather for eight months a year and very poor domestic tourism infrastructure means Russians will continue to look for warm and exotic destinations. The current diplomatic crisis is actually an opportunity for Africa.
Source of above stats:
Russian Travel Industry Association
01 April 2014