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Searching for the brands

What do we have?

According to the data of UNWTO Russia takes 13th place of the level of inbound tourism. Every year 20 million people visit Russia; but the income from tourism is not so considerable, just 12 billion dollars (USD). So, Russia takes 22nd place in tourism rating. According to the data of Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) 9 million and 880 thousand foreign visitors came to Russia during the first 6 months of 2009 and that’s for 11% less than at the same period of last year. About 752.9 thousand people visited Russia with tourism purposes and that’s for 15% less than last year.

The number of foreign inbound tourists has been decreasing constantly for the last several years, so the decrease of 15% for the first 6 months of 2009 is not dramatic. Noting such factors as the crisis, new flu, high prices for the hotels, high transport expenses we could have expected the worst. The dramatic thing is that the share of tourists from all the foreign flow to Russia is just not more than 12%.

The Russians more often go abroad than receive visitors. About 14 millions of the Russians went abroad for the first 6 months of 2009, and for tourism purpose only 3.8 million people went abroad. It’s interesting to note, that for the period from January to June just a little bit less tourists from Russia visited Egypt than the number of inbound tourists – almost 690 thousand Russians.

In general, the structure of outbound tourism of Russia is differs from world indexes. In other countries it goes the following way: 15% - business and professional trips, 27% - friends and relatives, and more than 50% - pure tourism. In Russia: 73% - friends and relatives, pure vacations (leisure) – about 10%. All marketing strategies directed to “leisure” segment.  

In crisis period the number of Russian tourists who spent vacations in foreign resorts decreased by 23%.

At the same time some countries showed a considerable growth of number of Russian tourists, for example, the Philippines (+108%), Israel (63%), Switzerland (+26%) and Republic of Korea (+24%).  

According to the words of Anatoliy Yarochkin, the Head of Russiatourism (Federal Agency for Tourism), the advertising budget of Russia for promoting the country in foreign markets is very small, just to compare, the Russian budget is in 25 times less than the budget of Spain and in 45 times less than the budget of Turkey. 

The peculiarities of tourist’s psychology 

Russia takes the 4th place in the world for natural resources and 9th place for the cultural and historic ones. Many experts think that the travel potential of Russia needs some design, in other words some brand.

In addition, it should be noted that the majority of regional routes can’t attract foreign tourists. Foreign travelers are interested in unique interregional routes.

It can be also justified by world practice, only interregional routes can attract the mass flows of foreign tourists. In fact, the world is so big and diverse, so it’s natural that a person first of all wants to see cult sights, cities and countries.

The majority of the fans of excursion tours are so called collectors of the journeys. According to the surveys, when a Russian citizen has a possibility to travel to one of the European capitals, a person goes to Paris. There are a lot of regions in France, but that’s for the gourmets, but for the first acquaintance with the country 95% of foreign tourists will choose Paris.

No matter how great the potential of our country is, the only Russian city can be called “a must see place for foreigners” is Saint-Petersburg. 

But even the “hits” are more often just the “points” of the routes. That’s why the trips when one can see several places of one country or even several countries are very popular.

There are such kinds of routes in Russia too: 2 capitals (Moscow and Saint Petersburg), Golden Ring cities, Trans Siberian rail road trips and Volga river cruises.

By the way, there are more popular countries than Russia and even with a considerable budget, they could not expand the geography of their offers for international market. For example, Turkey remains just the beach for all the Europeans, though the government spent millions of dollars to remind the Europeans that the country has a rich culture heritage.

Czech Republic invited persistently the tourists to Moravia, but most of the travelers still go to Prague and Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad).

"To ripen for the tourism"

There are several interregional routes in Russia: The Great Ural Ring, The Great Volga, Sayan ring, Golden Route, Silver Ring and Tea Route.  

Vladimir Kantorovich, President of KMP-Group, first Vice-President of ATOR thinks that the route should be connected with famous events for foreigners.

"The Europeans may choose the routes associated with the family of the last Russian Emperor”, said Vladimir Kantorovich, as for the Chinese, they may be interested in visiting Shushenskoe, if the necessary infrastructure would be developed there: “Lenin’s theme” is still popular. As for the Japanese, they are interested in visiting the burial places of Japanese soldiers in Far East of Russia".

The experts are sure that there is a necessity to bright the brands for promoting such routes. “We need to present brand products to the market", noted Vladimir Sharov, General Director of Vladinvesttour Company and the Head of Inner and Inbound Tourism Committee of Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR). – It’s not affective to promote the brand of the particular region. Integrative brand is stronger and has more potential. The exhibition stand of Russia should consist of travel brands”.  

The foreigners will help us

It’s very important that appearance and promotion of interregional routes will help in development inner tourism, as Ural, Siberia and Far East are not well-known and hard to access for the residents of Central Russia and for the Europeans as well, and European part of the country is not well-known for the residents of Zauralye.

It doesn’t mean that we don’t need regional products. But all the products should be developed on account of local people and the residents of neighbour regions, as for the border regions the foreign tourist from neighbour countries should be noted as well.

There are a lot of books concerning the strategy of promotion. But such things as marketing research, route planning and promotion need a lot of money.   

"Dark horse” of the tourism

According to the words of regional officials, there is no any “independence” of the regions to use budgetary money for tourism. Just not so considerable sums may be directed to some target program of development of tourism.

In addition in the majority of regions the authorities support the tourism in words, but in reality don’t see any potential. But for the recent years it became easier to work as the necessity of developing the tourism has been discussed at the highest level.

Monarch’s work

The regions won’t be able to create a competitive product and present it to international market without federal support. And we are talking not only about financial support of the government. For example, the development of such sphere as small aircrafts aviation is impossible without participation of the government.

Another example is Kazan; the popularity of this city has been growing constantly. "It could have been possible to offer the cruises Moscow-Kazan and Kazan-Moscow, said Vladimir Kantorovich. – But for the moment there are not any flights of foreign carriers to Kazan and transit via Sheremetyevo takes the entire day. As soon as Sheremetyevo 3 terminal will be opened there is a possibility that such travel offers will appear".

There is also a big potential of event tours in Russia. For example, several thousand foreign tourists came to Novosibirsk to see the solar eclipse.

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