The Russian Outbound Travel Market: The Prospect of Coping with Uncertainty

When Toposophy released the ‘Greek Tourism Uncovered’ report in October 2014, it was already clear that the Russian outbound travel market would not escape unscathed from the ongoing tension in Ukraine along with the depreciation of the Ruble against the Euro and the string of bankruptcies among Russian travel agencies. For our team of international experts, the Russian case was an interesting way to consider the nature and length of travel effects caused by temporary or persistent instability in source markets from emerging economies.

In fact, our key argument was that tourism destinations face basically the challenge of dealing with the ups and downs of markets from emerging economies in the short to medium-term, because in the long run the desire and capacity to travel overseas is linked to the fast rise of the middle class in these countries. 

Additional evidence has recently shown how today’s winners can be tomorrow’s losers or vice versa, unless there is a clear focus on building strong ties with tourism markets from emerging economies.

A week ago, the Tourism Review reported that the “weakening of the Russian ruble (as a result of the falling price of oil and western sanctions) against other major foreign currencies has brought about the shrinkage of the outbound tourist flow from Russia to the European countries this year”. According to the Tourism Review, the decline of Russian outbound tourism in destinations such as Turkey, Egypt and Thailand has been less significant, while there has also been a positive effect on the tourism industry inside Russia. The idea that the ongoing performance of Russian outbound tourism is prone to variations on a year to year basis is also consistent with the scenarios put forward by the European Travel Commission in a recent study about the impact of the Crimea Crisis on European Tourism.

We will continue monitoring similar phenomena (last weekend’s estimations of a slowdown in China’s economic growth in 2015 are an  equally important issue for numerous destinations) and we invite you to share your thoughts on the opportunities and challenges of attracting tourists from emerging economies.





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