Russia: Destination at a Glance
Russia is also known as the «lungs of Europe» since it has the largest forest reserves in the world, and the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by it is the second in the world. First is the rainforests in the Amazon. In June, a phenomenon known as the «White Nights» can be seen in some northern parts of Russia. It is a time when night remains bright, as the sun does not sink below the horizon. Moscow and St. Petersburg are the most visited cities in Russia.
Russia is the biggest country in the world that can offer a wide range of tourist opportunities to its foreign visitors. Russia is a transcontinental country, covering much of the eastern and northeastern Europe and the whole of the northern Russia. Russia is covering the 1/7 of our planet. Russia is home to 12 seas within its territory with other natural landmarks such as the Urals (the oldest mountains in the world), Lake Baikal (deepest lake in the world, and the largest reservoir of fresh water on earth), Ladoga Lake (largest lake in Europe), Klyuchevskaya Sopka (largest active volcano in the world), Russian Volga (the longest river of Europe).
The most popular tourist attractions are the old Russian cities of Vladimir, Suzdal, Sergiev Posad, Pereyaslavl Zalessky, Rostov, Uglitch, Yaroslavl and Kostroma, the biggest gems of Russia’s Golden Ring. Also high on every tourist’s priority list are itineraries by boat from Moscow to St.Petersburg and the Valaam Island, a central point of religious pilgrimage, or to Kizhi, the wonderland of old Russian wooden architecture, the Northern Caucasus and the Black Sea coast, to Mount Elbrus, the Ural mountains, and the Altai country, in different natural settings, from the Black Sea coast the Baltic Sea to the mountains of the Northern Caucasus, Ural and Altai.
In the forest steppe and steppe areas, the invigorating nature is supplemented with refreshing koumiss, which is a favorite drink among the vacationers in Bashkortostan.
Russia is also known as the «lungs of Europe» since it has the largest forest reserves in the world, and the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by it is the second in the world. First is the rainforests in the Amazon. In June, a phenomenon known as the «White Nights» can be seen in some northern parts of Russia. It is a time when night remains bright, as the sun does not sink below the horizon. Moscow and St. Petersburg are the most visited cities in Russia. Moscow Kremlin is the world biggest medieval fortress built in 14-15th centuries. St. Petersburg is the most crowded northern city in the world with a population more than 1 million people. St. Petersburg has more than 200 museums, 80 theaters and 176 fountains,
Space Tourism in Russia
Space tourism is a space travel program for leisure purposes. Several companies were produced to create sub-orbital space tourism industry in recent years. Space tourism opportunities are limited. Only Russian Space Agency is providing transport to date. In 2001 American Dennis Tito paid a reported $20 million to become the first space tourist to fund his own trip to the ISS. The mission was launched by a Soyuz TM-32 spacecraft. He spent about eight days in orbit as a crew member. Another six space tourists followed Tito before Russia cancelled the program. Russian space tourism authorities say that, Russia will keep on doing space travel starting from the year of 2018 for 200.000 $ – 250.000 $.
Culture Tourism in Russia
Culture Tourism can be explained as the movement of tourists to specific cultural attractions such as museums, heritage sites, artistic performances and festivals outside their place of residence. Recently, the biggest tourist area in Russia can be considered as Moscow, St. Petersburg and cruises on the Volga and Don Rivers.
A wide variety of incredible travel destinations are available within the European part of Russia. The most popular routes Include the historic cities of the Golden Ring, riverboat cruises along the Volga River and up to the Russian North and Northwest, These routes invite you to experience Russian history, immerse yourself In the culture and learn its traditions» New cultural and educational travel destinations are being offered with every new tourist season.
Golden Ring Cities in Russia
Golden Ring is the name of several cities and towns in Russia. Travelling to Golden Ring is the best way to enjoy the beautiful countryside views and ancient architecture of Russia.
Vladimir: Vladimir is a historical city, dating back to the 1100s. Vladimir has transportation links to all main hubs such as Vladimir Oblast, Moscow, Ivanovo, Kostroma, Nizhny, Novgorod, Ryazan and Yaroslavi. Vladimir is a part of Golden Ring cities of Russia and a popular tourist destination with three chief monuments, which are on the World Heritage List: the magnificent five-domed Assumption Cathedral, Cathedral of Saint Demetrius and the Golden Gate.
Suzdal: Suzdal is a small town in Vladimir region. It is located 210 kilometers north east of Moscow. Suzdal is one of the most interesting stops along the Golden Ring. In Suzdal, you can enjoy the ancient Russian architecture and beautiful views. Suzdal is important for tourists since it keeps the special atmosphere of the ancient Russia. The Kremlin, the Cathedral of Nativity, Saviour Monastery of St. Euthymius, Wooden Church of St. Nicholas, St. John the Baptist Church, The St. Alexander Convent and Intercession Convent are the sights to visit in Suzdal.
Yaroslavl: Yaroslavl is one of the oldest cities in the country and one of the main objects of the Golden Ring of Russia. The historic city of Yaroslavl, located between the Volga and the Kotorosl rivers. Yaroslavl is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most historic places in Russia. On the streets and squares of Yaroslavl you can see a number of different monuments including the Demidov Pillar, monuments to Fyodor Volkov, Nikolai Nekrasov, Yaroslav the Wise.
Ivanovo: Ivanovo is in the center of European Russia. It is located in the 300 km northeast of Moscow. The city is known as “the city of brides”, “the land of printed cotton”, Russian Manchester and “Red Manchester”. The Ship-house, the Horseshoe-house, the Regional Bank building, the Palace of Arts, the Collective-house, the Ivanovo railway station, Oblsovnarhoz-houses, Schudrovskaya Palatka, the first brick civil building in Ivanovo, the Svyato-Vvedensky Monastery, the wooden Uspenskaya church and the mansion of A. Duringer are the notable sights in Ivanovo.
Kostroma: Kostroma lies on the Great Russian River on both banks, the Volga. The river divides the city into two parts, each of which is full of various attractions. The five-domed Epiphany Cathedral, the minster houses, Our Lady of St. Theodore, the Ipatyevsky monastery, the Resurrection church and among the vestiges of the Godunov rule, a fine tent-like church in the urban-type settlement of Krasnoye-na-Volge are the sights to see in Kostroma.
Rostov Veliky: Rostov is one of the oldest cities of Russia, which was first mentioned in the 9th century. Main sights in Rostov Veliky are the ornate Savior Church-na-Senyakh, the sombre Church of St. Gregory, the barbican churches of St. John the Apostle, the Resurrection of Christ, the residence, often erroneously called kremlin, also includes eleven ornate tower bells, numerous palaces, several small belfries, and the diminutive baroque Church of Our Lady of Smolensk, the Savior-on-the-Market church, the cathedral church of the Nativity convent, the oldest church of St. Isidore the Blessed, the Abraham monastery,
Spaso-Yakovlevsky Monastery, the Conception of St. Anna, and the Transfiguration of Our Savior.
Pereslavl-Zalessky: Pereslavl-Zalessky, situated 140 kilometers to the northeast of Moscow and lying on the shore of Lake Pleshcheyevo, is one of them. The town is a part of Golden Ring of Russia. There are some notable historic buildings in the city such as: white stone Savior’s Cathedral, Church of Metropolitan Peter, Troitse-Danilov Monastery, Nikitsky Monastery, Feodorovsky Monastery and Goritsky Monastery. There are also several museums in the city: Museum-Preserve of Pereslavl-Zalessky, Museum–Estate “The Little Boat of Peter the Great”, the Pereslavl Arboretum, Museum of Flat Irons, the Museum of Kettles and the Museum of Steam Engines.
Health Tourism in Russia
Basically Medical Tourism is travelling to another country to receive certain medical services. The reasons for obtaining medical services in other countries could be the more affordable price, better service quality than in the country of residence. Also people might be interested to discover the country itself and to make it a single package with medical treatments or medical checkup procedures. With the area of more than 17 million square kilometers, Russia is the biggest country in the world. According to Word Health organization reports, Russia has more clinics and medical workers than any other country in the world on per-individual basis. The medical treatment price can be 2 – 3 times lower than the price for the same service in USA and Europe. In certain areas, like laser eye surgery and heart surgery. Russian clinics offer the most advanced technologies available nowadays.
Ecotourism in Russia
Russia’s natural landscape has huge potential as an ecotourism destination. Russia is one of the most promising countries for the development of ecotourism. In Russia there are 35 national parks, 100 state nature reserves with total area – 33,5 millions hectares, 68 state nature preserves of federal meaning, 2976 state nature preserves of regional meaning with total area – 67,8 million hectares, 1024 nature monuments, 31 natural parks of regional meaning, with total area 13,2 million hectares. Environmental heritage of the country can be seen in almost every region of the country. There are also some ecological tours in Russia that gives the opportunity of discovering the country. In the western part of the country, there lies the Curonian Spit, one of the oldest nature reserves in the world. Curonian Spit is a sandy peninsula, isolating the freshwater of Curonian lagoon from the Baltic Sea. In the Tver Region, next to Moscow and St. Petersburg, Central Forest Nature Biosphere situates with its unique spruce trees. Central Forest is half a thousand years old and home to European minks, pied geese, grouses, dwarf birch, berries and raised bogs. Moreover, in the Far Eastern State Marine Preserve with its seaside and 11 islands, you may observe the whales, silver pomfrets, swordfishes, tiger sharks, hammerhead sharks, toxic puffer fishes, white-bellied porpoises and seals by walking around the preserve or diving.
Tourism Investments in Russia
According to Russia & CIS Hotel Investment Conference (RHIC), which was held in 2015, there are several investments for tourism in Russia.
Hilton Worldwide has rounded off this year’s Russia & CIS Hotel Investment Forum with an announcement that continues its drive to bring quality international branded accommodation to Russia’s regional markets. New hotels are set to be developed under its midscale Hilton Garden Inn brand in the far eastern city of Khabarovsk and the industrial center of Orenburg. Under a franchise agreement with Dalreostroy LLC, part of the Dalreo Group, the hotel Hilton Garden Inn Khabarovsk will be constructed adjacent to a multipurpose complex. Guests at any one of the 186 rooms will enjoy direct access to these amenities along with the hotel’s own restaurant, bar and fitness studio. Scheduled to open in 2019, the striking tower building will enjoy an advantageous central location at Komsomolskaya Street. Expected to open at the beginning of 2018 through a franchise agreement with ZAO Orenburgskaya Ekspluatatsionnaya Kompaniya, the hotel Hilton Garden Inn Orenburg will consist of 119 rooms across seven floors. The building will be constructed as part of a development, which will also bring an adjoining park to the city center to be landscaped and maintained by the owner for the enjoyment of guests and Orenburg locals alike. Adrian Kurre, global head, Hilton Garden Inn, said, “Our brand continues to blaze a trail in bringing quality mid-market accommodation to Russia’s regional cities. Hilton Garden Inn Ulyanovsk is scheduled to open its doors later this year which will see us become the first international brand to arrive on the banks of the river Volga and I am delighted to be setting a similar precedent in Khabarovsk and Orenburg.”
Mospromstroy have announced plans to bring one of the city’s most fabled properties back to the market. According to the signed franchising agreement between Mospromstroy and Hilton Worldwide, Hilton Moscow Tverskaya Luxe will cover 47,000 square meters and consist of 220 rooms and 52 apartments and is expected to welcome its first guests by mid-2018. Hilton Moscow Tverskaya Luxe assumes a prime city center location at 10 Tverskaya Street, Moscow’s main commercial thoroughfare leading to the Kremlin. An investment of 6.6 billion rubles (over $100 million) will be made to aimed at restoring substantial parts of a building, which dates back to the 1890s.
Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, one of the most dynamic hotel groups worldwide, announces the Radisson Blu Olympiysky Hotel, Moscow. The upper-upscale property featuring 379 rooms will welcome the first guests in Q1 2017. The hotel is owned by B&N Group. “We are delighted to add a further flagship to our portfolio in Moscow and to strengthen our position as the leading international hotel operator in Russia/CIS & Baltics. We remain committed to this emerging market and will expand our network across the region together with our partners,” Executive Vice President & Chief Development Officer of Rezidor at the Russia & CIS Hotel Investment Conference in Moscow Elie Younes said.
IHG has announced the signing of two management agreements for two Holiday Inn hotels in two different markets. IHG has signed a management agreement with SGI-Invest LLC for Holiday Inn® Yerevan in the capital of Armenia. Opening in 2018, the 191-room property will be the first IHG branded hotel to open its doors in Armenia. IHG also has signed a management agreement with PKF Piramida-D LLC for Holiday Inn® St. Petersburg – Proletarskaya. The 414-room hotel opening in 2018 will become the second under the Holiday Inn brand in St. Petersburg. The hotel will create a new conference venue for the city, offering more than 1500 square meters of meeting space in one of Europe’s leading meeting and event destinations (http://www.russia-cisconference.com/).
Online marketing in tourism industry can help business professionals connect with the travellers. Usage of user comments, online travel photos and videos is increasing among travellers and this highly affects the travel plans of upcoming visitors. As it is seen, the Internet technology has become an important source of information for tour- ism industry. With the help of the Internet, successful promotions, selling services and products to meet the demands of the costumers has become possible.
Technology has a great effect on the growth of different industries today. We cannot separate tourism industry from the technological influences. Local and international hotels work overtime to cope up with increasing customer reviews and online bookings. As new technology demands from them, hotels and tourist facilities change rap- idly in order to meet customer demands using social media.
Recently, travellers have moved from seeing advertising and going to a destination to get online information from blogs and commentaries. Accordingly, there appeared new promotion channels such as direct mail, newsletters, social media, website, micro- site and event landing page. Destinations are increasing brand awareness by sharing text, image, video and audio in social media channels. At each stage of the path to purchase, travellers use a variety of online sources to help them choose their holiday destinations, and to plan and book their holidays. A destination should consider a diversity of initiatives to reach travellers across online sources. Visitors are travelling to destinations in order to see beautiful, unspoiled nature of Russia, to visit family and friends, to enjoy the destination’s entertainment, nightlife, shopping and city activities, to experience an interesting culture and affordability.
Marketing efforts should include definitively pointed marketing goals. These goals should be set up to obtain destination vision among potential visitors. In the case of Russia, Russia tourism authorities run successful marketing campaigns to increase the tourist numbers in the country. With the increase awareness of Russia around the world, there is a growth in the number of tour operators featuring Russia.
Increase in Tourist Arrivals in Russia
Russia is set to see a 20% increase in visitor arrivals over the next four years fuelled by the hosting of major sporting events. Russia is hosting an array of sporting events over the next six years climaxing with the FIFA World Cup in 2018. The sporting schedule starts next year with Moscow’s hosting of the World Athletic Championships and the Rugby Sevens World Cup. Also in 2013 is the Universiade (University games) in Kazan, while 2014 sees Sochi have the Winter Olympics.
These events will bring an increased focus to the Russian inbound tourism industry, which will help visitors peak at more than 28.3 million – up 20% on 2012’s inbound tourists figure of 23.7 million.
The Euromonitor International report reveals this increase will be mainly fuelled by European destinations with Finish visitors increasing by 16% to nearly 1.3 million visitors in 2016. Polish visitors will increase by 25% to 857,000 in 2016, visitors from the UK will increase by 17% to 250,000, with Turkish visitors rising by 19% to 243,000.Visitors from the US will also increase by 15% to 301,000 in 2016.
Currently, Russia’s largest inbound markets are the former Soviet republics of Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan mainly due to the close connections and similar linguistic and historical links, enabling tourists to meet easily with friends and family.
Inbound visitors are also expected to increase from China due to the simplification in visa regulations between Russia and China.
However, the report – The Travel Industry Global Overview – states that visa barriers are currently a major restriction for inbound tourism to Russia. Visitors from most countries require a visa to enter which must be obtained in advance. There are on-going talks with the EU regarding changes to the visa process.
Russia outbound tourism spends is expected to rise an average 8% a year until 2016. Russian outbound distribution is swiftly shifting online with a 50% increase in online spend predicted over the next four years. Growing Internet penetration, combined with the recession has encouraged online searches as travellers seek bargains, mainly seen within transportation.
Reed Travel Exhibitions Director World Travel Market Simon Press said: “The findings are very positive for the Russian market. As long as the visa restrictions are minimized, Russia will see its tourism industry grow substantially over the next few years.”
“Russia will be showcased to the world with the hosting of all the major sporting events taking place, this being the perfect opportunity to highlight Russia as a tourism destination”.
These days there is a decline in the number of Russian tourists on the coastline of Tenerife or Mallorca than in previous years. On the other hand Russia enjoys an increase in tourist numbers especially for its top destinations such as St. Petersburg and Moscow. Most of the tourists visiting Russia are from European countries, China, Iran and India.
Russian Tourism Trends
A Big Shift in Domestic Travel
The number of trips by Russian nationals to European destinations decreased by 30-50% from 2015 to 2014. This is the biggest drop in the last twenty years. There is a boom in domestic tourism in Russia. The government promoted Sochi, Anapa, Gelendzhik And Eysk on the coast of Black Sea and the Sea of Azov in order the to drive the focus of its residents on Russian resorts.
In 2015, an average hotel room in Moscow yielded 7% more than in 2014, in St. Petersburg the growth rate was 26.3%. Also in 2015, 60% of 100.000 bookings fell at domestic travel segment. The number of hotels bookings outside Moscow and St. Petersburg rose by 70% in comparison to 2014.
Government keeps on making large investments to develop domestic tourism in order to feel the gap. There will also be foreign investors, especially after the meeting between President of Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President of Russia, Vladimir Putin.
World Cup 2018
Despite the ongoing crisis and budget spending cuts, Russia is going to fulfill its obligations to host Confederation Cup 2017 and FIFA World Cup 2018. Preparations are in full swing for both.
Recently, the Russian government has set hotel price limits for these events in order to prevent inflated prices, as was the case in other countries hosting the World Cup and the Olympics. These limits are just a bit higher than today’s average rates. This means that provided availability of affordable airfare, it will be possible for most Europeans and tourists from other continents to visit Russia and watch games live. Given the weak ruble, citizens from Great Britain, Switzerland and Eurozone countries will hardly face great expenses here.