Large companies help to overcome Russian tourism industry crisis
The summer holiday season is coming to an end. According to preliminary data of tour operators, Turkey has become a top tourist destination for residents of Russia (31%), followed by Greece (22%), Cyprus (14%), Tunisia and Spain, Italy was also rather popular.
According to chairperson of the Russian Civic Chamber’s Commission for the Development of Public Diplomacy, Humanitarian Cooperation and Traditional Values, Yelena Sutormina, traditional winter destinations - Thailand and the Dominican Republic - were also included in summer ratings, and the abolition of visas allowed the UAE to become one of the top destinations for Russian tourists.
As for inbound tourism, it was affected by the World Cup. "According to various estimates, 7 million people arrived in Russia from all over the world. Eleven cities hosting matches were visited by 40% more tourists than in the same period last year. The traditional leaders in number of tourists among Russian regions during the summer season are the Krasnodar Territory with some 7.5 million people (an increase of 10% compared to the previous year), Crimea with more than 5.3 million people (an increase of 25%), due to the introduction of the Crimean bridge, Kaliningrad region, Altai region, Vladimir region, Republic of Tatarstan and resorts of the North Caucasus," Yelena Sutormina said.
According to her, the Civic Chamber operates a hotline for the protection of the rights of tourists: "We have received about 1300 appeals. More than 50% of appeals were complaints about infrastructure and service problems, non-correspondence of reality and the information on tour operators websites. There are problems with hotels, with beach cleaning. More than 30% complained about air carriers, in particular, about the cancellation and delay of flights. A large number of appeals was linked to the Natalie Tours firm, but Rosturizm is actively dealing with this problem. The company received about 12 thousand claims from customers and did not fulfill obligations to 30 thousand customers. They pay out several millions, but they have claims totalling more than one billion rubles. We will help those who applied to courts. During the World Cup, there were complaints about overvaluation of taxi prices, illegal carriers, as well as inflated accommodation prices."
Returning to the outbound tourism topic, Deputy Chairman of Rosturism's Public Council Dmitry Davydenko assured that there were no serious incidents with Russian tourists abroad: "People will always have some minor problems, but there were no mass poisonings, there were no big accidents. Problems with the tourists of the Natalie Tours firm and other collapsed companies were also resolved quickly enough. There is no single person left abroad who would have problems there."
Dmitry Davydenko denied reports of a systemic crisis in the travel industry: "The bankrupt Natalie Tours or Aurora are small companies, they have absolutely no influence on the market. The crisis was overcome thanks to the large companies, the so-called captains of the tourist business, which took over part of the Natalie Tours firm's commitments to settle tourists, take them out on their boards. The actions of large business in this situation were very correct, revealing a high degree of social responsibility."