Thailand is the main beneficiary of the recent surge in Russian outbound travel, a new report has revealed.
The Russian International Travel Monitor (RITM), released today by Hotels.com, found that almost half (49%) of hoteliers worldwide have seen a rise in Russian guests in the last year, with 54% experiencing double-digit growth.
And Thailand’s hoteliers are benefiting more than most. More than 75% of hotels in the country said they have experienced an increase in Russian visitors this year, and more than 90% expect an increase next three years.
In 2012, 35.7 million tourists from Russia travelled internationally, up from just 7.7m in 2006. And according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Russia has grown to become Thailand’s largest European source market, contributing 1.3m arrivals in 2012. This is expected to increase 27% in 2013, to reach almost 1.7m visitors. And Johan Svanstrom, president of Hotels.com, said Russia has still not reached its full potential as an outbound tourism market.
“The meteoric rise of Russia’s outbound travel market is providing a welcome boost to hoteliers worldwide, with Russians among the highest spenders on hotel rooms globally,” said Svanstrom.
“The rising size and spending power of middle class Russian travellers is a key driver behind this growth. Standing 104 million strong today, the group is set to account for 86% of the country’s population by 2020, with a combined spending power of US$1.3 trillion.”
And according to Hotels.com, hoteliers are now rolling out the welcome mat for Russian visitors, with a series of tailored services. Almost a third (32%) of hoteliers said they have already started to offer Russian TV channels while almost a quarter (23%) have hired Russian speaking staff, with a further 12% planning to do so.
One fifth (20%) of hoteliers offer translated welcome materials, with a further 15% planning to do so, and more than one in ten hoteliers (11%) plan to start serving Russian food.
Last year saw Russians spent US$43 billion on travel abroad, making it the world’s fifth biggest outbound travel market globally.