The Russian tourist industry was not ready for the influx of travelers

The Russian tourist industry was not ready for the influx of travelers

Domestic tourism sets new records. Popular destinations were almost sold out for the long February weekend back in January. Because of this, hoteliers and airlines traditionally inflated prices almost doubled. But even in this situation, it turned out that tour operators are not yet able to satisfy the needs of travelers.

Having tried to look for at least some hotel in the cities of the Golden Ring, we almost everywhere found the seemingly long-forgotten inscription “no places”.

“This year, for the first time in many years, four full days fell on February 23rd. Because of this, there was a surge in demand by 60% compared to the previous year, because everyone who planned a vacation for March 8 moved it to February, ”explains Aleksan Mkrtchyan, Vice President of the Alliance of Russian Travel Agencies.

At the same time, many of those who previously went abroad for vacations now rushed to Russia. And above all, not far from the capital. As a result, traditionally budget vacations in the Moscow region or the cities of the Golden Ring today turned out to be available only to those who are ready to pay 100-200 thousand rubles for a trip.

There are no seats

I must say that in recent years, the tourism infrastructure in Russia has indeed achieved some success. In the same suburbs, you can find park hotels, spa complexes, hotels of famous world brands. Gone are the days when, arriving in the same Uglich or Yaroslavl, one could stay either in the only hotel in the city center, or in a rented apartment. However, now it turns out that the domestic infrastructure is not ready for a truly massive influx of tourists. So, in the same Yaroslavl in the middle of last week, we managed to find only one (!) Free hotel on holidays. Yes, and not only was it located a few kilometers from the city center, it also cost 140 thousand rubles for four nights for one!

A similar situation has developed in most popular hotels in the Moscow region. Attractive options for the cheap and medium price segments were sorted out much in advance. So, if you decide to go on vacation at the last minute, you will have to stock up on money. In most accommodation facilities, only the most expensive premium rooms remained free. For example, in a five-star hotel on the Istra reservoir, you can relax in the presidential suite for 250,000 rubles a day. Against this background, the Hilton Garden in New Riga, offering full board in a standard room for 15,900 rubles per person per day, looks almost like a discounter.

Alas, practice shows that it is often impossible to get quality service in Russian hotels for any money.

“In early February, a friend persuaded me to go on vacation to the four-star Solnechny park-hotel near Moscow. We chose an expensive room – for 10 thousand rubles per day. The promotional photos on the site showed beautiful wooden apartments. In fact, they got a small room with two tiny beds, which we jokingly began to call “shkonks”, they turned out to be so small and uncomfortable, ”Irina K., a Muscovite, shared her impressions.

great greed

What else is interesting: not only hoteliers, but also carriers, could not cope with the flow of tourists, even despite the fact that prices traditionally skyrocketed, and in some areas there were only empty seats in business class. This is exactly what happened, for example, with the Aeroflot flight Moscow – Kaliningrad, tickets for which last week could only be bought for 25 thousand rubles. At the same time, the carrier’s business tariff now has a division into “basic”, “optimum” and “maximum”, which was previously typical for economy class tariffs.

According to analysts of the tour operator Alean, in February Kaliningrad entered the top three most popular destinations. Because of this, it became impossible to find an inexpensive hotel there already in mid-February. At the beginning of the month, the cost of accommodation in a three-star hotel for holidays started from 7,200 rubles per double room per day, in a four-star hotel – about 15 thousand rubles, five stars – about 70 thousand.

The traditional leader was the Krasnodar Territory (52% of bookings). On the aggregator in the middle of last week, you could still find a room in Sochi for two in a four-star hotel for 27 thousand rubles for three nights. For a five-star room, you would have to pay about 60 thousand rubles. Against this background, the prices for air tickets Moscow – Sochi seemed to have grown slightly: about 10-11 thousand rubles for the cheapest baggage-free fare compared to the usual 4-5 thousand. The catch, however, is the lack of cheap return tickets. Flight Sochi – Moscow on February 26 will cost at least 30 thousand rubles. There were only a few vacancies at this rate.

By the way

Moreover, the current price boom is just a rehearsal for the summer season. Obviously, it is not necessary to wait for price reduction. It is understandable: this year the booking of summer tours has already begun.

“Sales of summer tours in January 2023 were 60% higher than a year ago. There has never been such a good January in sales of tours for the summer, ”said Sergey Romashkin, general director of the Dolphin tour operator. Thus, tour operators will obviously not have to arrange sales, and therefore the closer to summer, the higher the prices for tours will become.

Meanwhile. wild and expensive

It would be possible to solve the problem with the lack of places and infrastructure in a relatively short period of time with the help of the development of campsites. Also a good help could be the revival of camp sites in the same suburbs.

Modern “wild tourism” today can be quite comfortable. For example, motorhomes, or campers, may well be compared with full-fledged hotel rooms. Here you have a bedroom with a bed with a king-size mattress, a full bathroom, a kitchen with a stove and a living room with a soft suite. In theory, car camping could satisfy the needs of both discerning travelers, lovers of comfort, and those who are aimed at the most budget-friendly vacation. By the way, there are a lot of offers for renting motorhomes today. In the budget segment, offers start from 7–9 thousand rubles per day. And the cost of renting a comfortable motorhome with all amenities reaches 40-60 thousand rubles.

However, the development of camping is impossible without infrastructure. Unfortunately, in Russia, even on federal highways, a trip in a motorhome through pits and potholes can turn into a real nightmare. The correspondent of Our Version, who went on a trip along the widely advertised highway to Kazan (which, we recall, should become the main artery to Asia), already near Noginsk and Pokrov was forced to constantly pull over to the side of the road so as not to lose the wheel in road pits. Looking at such roads, any desire to rent a luxury motorhome disappears by itself.

We do not yet have a developed camping infrastructure. On the interactive map on the campsites of Russia.rf resource, we managed to find a total of about 100 campsites. Moreover, it should be borne in mind that often we can talk about a place with equipped parking near the Black Sea beach. At the same time, there may be no equipped descent to the water, no rental of sun loungers and umbrellas, or even a stable mobile connection in such a campsite.