Inbound Tourism in Russia up 20% in 2018, Tour Operators Say

An upward trend in tourist flow to Russia has continued until the end of 2018, and has made up 20 percent compared to the previous year, RIA news agency reported citing Maya Lomidze, executive director of the Association of Russian Tour Operators (ATOR).  

“We see that positive dynamics remained in the organized segment, which accounts for up to 90 percent of inbound tourism. We expect the tourist flow to increase by 20 percent among those citizens that have indicated tourism as the purpose of their arrival by the end of the year. In total, according to preliminary estimates, more than five million foreign tourists have visited Russia,” Lomidze said at a briefing focused on the tourism trends of 2018 and forecasts for the industry for 2019.

Lomidze noted that more tourists from China, the United States, Germany, and South Korea have visited Russia in 2018.

At the same time, 95% of group tourists still travel along the same route: Moscow – St. Petersburg, ATOR says. Next in popularity is the Golden Ring, a series of ancient towns northeast of Moscow, which played a significant role in the formation of the Russian Orthodox Church. The main reason for this limited route network is the lack of infrastructure and logistical difficulties, Russian tour operators say.

According to ATOR’s data, Chinese tourists remained in first place (about 1.2 million visits, + 11%), Germany is in second place (about 420,000, an increase of 7.7% which was fourth place last year). South Korea (over 320,000 tourists, + 44%) climbed to third place

The United States (220,000 tourists), Israel (140,000), Great Britain (125,000), Italy (115,500), France (105,000), Spain (80,000) and Japan (51,000) make up the top 10 countries for incoming tourists in Russia.