BOFIT Viikkokatsaus / BOFIT Weekly 2018/41

During summer tourist season, which runs from April to September, foreign visitors spent about 8 billion dollars (an increase of 45 % y-o-y) on Russian travel services. In dollar terms, the value of Russian travel service exports has in any case been recovering at about 15 % a year since a low in 2015.

The World Cup is reflected in tourist numbers mostly as a change in the composition of nationalities. The share of tourists from more distant lands increased, while the share of visitors from neighbour countries declined. Total number of tourists in early summer was similar to last summer during which 15 million tourists visited Russia. In the winter season, which runs from October to March, foreigners made 10 million tourist trips to Russia and spent 4 billion dollars. The trend of winter travel to Russia has been waning.

Russians spent 21 billion dollars (11 % more than a year earlier) during the summer season on travel services abroad. In early summer, Russians made 7 % more trips abroad than in the same period last year. Last year, 24 million trips abroad were made during the entire summer. The beachside towns of the Black Sea or Eastern Mediterranean have traditionally been popular summer destinations. A fifth of summer trips in early summer were to Turkey. Egypt used to be popular tourist destination until a Russian charter jet crashed in the Sinai in 2015 and Russia temporarily banned flights to Egypt. The flight ban was lifted this spring, but charter flights did not yet resume in summer.

In the winter season, Russians made 16 million trips abroad, or 15 % more than in previous winter, and used 14 billion dollars, or 30 % more than in previous winter. Travel plans for this winter season depend to a large extent on the ruble’s exchange rate and its impact on the international purchasing power of Russians. In real terms, the ruble is currently about 10 % weaker than a year ago.