‘They are considering the new reality’: Tatarstan residents start travelling across Russia but don’t forget Turkey

“People have a specific attitude to domestic resorts. Many people have no idea we have a lot of beautiful comfortable sites”

‘They are considering the new reality’: Tatarstan residents start travelling across Russia but don’t forget Turkey
Photo: realnoevremya.ru/Maxim Platonov

The pandemic and the special military operation influenced a big number of business areas. Tourism — both external and internal — was no exception. The closure of borders by many countries and soaring prices for tickets for Russians made their changes to tourist demand. According to experts surveyed by Realnoe Vremya, domestic destinations are gaining momentum among Tatarstan residents. At the same time, many people’s all-time favourite Turkey isn’t losing its demand. Read more in Realnoe Vremya’s report about the upcoming tourist season, its specifics and preferable travel destinations.

“They are considering the new reality”

This summer season Tatarstan residents choose popular holiday destinations that weren’t so popular in the past — Azerbaijan, Mineralnye Vody and Altai. At the same time, according to owner of Companion SP Sergey Pasechnik, the demand for Turkey is also growing, which is particularly related to the appearance of direct flights from Kazan to Antalya.

“Like all Russians, Tatarstan residents are considering new routes, the new reality. They are mainly considering domestic routes, places with normal logistics, where there is clear good accommodation. Somebody is looking for group options, somebody is for excursions. Not only Russian destinations but also the closest countries,” he explained.

Director of Travel and Work Yulia Talanova also noted the popularity of Turkey. According to her, this country is one of the leaders in the number of bookings among Tatarstan residents. At the same time, the demand for domestic destinations — Krasnodar Krai and Crimea — is growing too.

Yulia Talanova said that Tatarstan travellers have split in two groups when choosing a holiday destination: one half is booking foreign destinations, the other is domestic ones.

Photo: realnoevremya.ru/Maxim Platonov

“Weekend tours have decreased a bit now. Our tourism hasn’t fully recovered after the pandemic yet. People mainly think about a holiday from seven to 14 days. People can consider only the nearest destinations for a weekend tour — Moscow, Saint Petersburg. They go to the seaside on as few as seven days,” the expert added.

Head of the Tatarstan Association of Tour Agencies Ramil Miftakhov noted a fall in demand for tours to Turkey among Tatarstan residents. In a talk with Realnoe Vremya’s correspondent, he said that at the moment the republic’s citizens preferred Russian resorts. The demand for Turkey shrank.

“I would say Russian resorts and Black Sea resorts, of course, are the most popular destinations among Tatarstan residents and not only, among Russian citizens in general. Given that political moment that Turkey provides with its budget, the amount of holidaymakers reduced and bookings reduced too, perhaps by as few as 50%,” explained Ramil Miftakhov. “People took wait-and-see approach, especially for Turkey. But many want to go to the seaside so much, given the high demand, they booked precisely Black Sea resorts.”

Photo: realnoevremya.ru/Maxim Platonov

“They make a decision literally within two weeks”

The experts surveyed by Realnoe Vremya all agreed in one thing: demand for domestic destinations and CIS countries has increased compared to last year:

“Now people are going to Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Mineralnye Vody, Dagestan, Altai, Vladivostok, Murmansk. There has appeared such a diversity of requests,” said Sergey Pasechnik.

According to Ramil Miftakhov, the tendency is related to the higher price of a holiday abroad. Transportation has appreciated the most — from 20,000 to 50,000 in Turkey.

“Nowadays a Russian holiday is cheaper than Turkey, Egypt. This is why everybody is booking. One can go by train for a more or less reasonable price. <...> This is why in this segment it is hard for Turkey and Russia to compete,” thinks the interlocutor of the newspaper. “We understand that the Russian quality is below Turkish, but people vote with their wallet, so to speak, this is why it is up to them.”

Photo: realnoevremya.ru/Maxim Platonov

Mineralnye Vody is becoming more popular among Russian resorts, claimed Yulia Talanova. At the same time, the demand for this destination hasn’t fallen throughout the year:

“Mineralnye Vody has been in demand now. It is all year round because the weather is good most of the year. This also became popular because everything is comfortable there. The demand is gradually developing. People have a specific attitude to domestic resorts: ‘I have been to Turkey, it is great, now I will go there.’ Many people have no idea we have a lot of beautiful, comfortable sites.”

The expert paid attention to another interesting tendency. According to her, Tatarstan residents started to book tickets weeks before the trip:

“People now make a decision literally two weeks before the trip. It isn’t early booking. There is early booking only for Turkey because people, as a rule, book favourite hotels in advance and thus save from 30 to 50%. In any case, this situation is getting worse. People anyway booked in advance last year,” she said.

Photo: realnoevremya.ru/ Maxim Platonov

“Georgia is history”

On 10 May, President of Russia Vladimir Putin decided to cancel visas for citizens of Georgia and lifted the ban on Russian airlines from flying to this country. Realnoe Vremya asked the experts about the impact of such news on tourist demand.

In this issue, they agreed that it is yet early to judge the growth in the popularity of the Georgian destination. Firstly, the season hasn’t started yet. Secondly, flights aren’t performed on a large scale.

“There was just announced a visa-free regime was introduced for Georgia’s citizens. It is unknown what will happen next, if there will be traffic. It is just a test season. Tatarstan residents haven’t applied yet, there aren’t direct flights. People at the moment can buy combo tours — Armenia and Georgia,” Sergey Pasechnik highlighted.

Photo: realnoevremya.ru/Maxim Platonov

Yulia Talanova emphasised that conclusions shouldn’t be drawn yet. At the same time, people love Georgia for its peculiarities:

“Georgia is history, tasty food, but the sea season will start in late June. Only then conclusions can be drawn. It has seasons.”

According to Ramil Miftakhov, a two-way ticket now costs as little as 40,000. Moreover, the flight to Georgia is two hours shorter than to Turkey.

“If we are talking about Georgia in detail, it is unclear what demand will be. A two-way ticket was as little as 40,000 rubles. Though a flight to Turkey is 4.5 hours, while to Georgia is 2.5 hours. The demand breeds supply, this is why airlines are now raising prices because of the high demand, but the traffic is still very low,” noted the head of the Association of Tour Agencies.

He thinks that the situation can improve in the future. However, one shouldn’t expect massive tourist traffic.

“As soon as the flight programme from Russian regions starts, here, of course, we can talk about a lower flight price. And prices there haven’t risen significantly but have risen,” shared Ramil Miftakhov. “Both for food and accommodation. We understand why, this is why now I wouldn’t say Georgia is a super alternative. This can be an alternative to some European resorts. Here, given the ticket price, transportation and transfer in the country, altogether this will provide a more expensive tour product. This is why I wouldn’t say it is a mass flow to Georgia.”

Photo: realnoevremya.ru/Maxim Platonov

According to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s order, citizens of Georgia have been able to enter the Russian territory and leave without visa providing passports since 15 May. Georgia will grant a permit for direct flights to Russian airlines that aren’t imposed sanctions — two organisations did. Read more about the “momentous decision” on the visa-free regime in Realnoe Vremya’s report.

Yelizaveta Punsheva, Venera Aliyeva

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