The ability to travel is an important indicator of the quality of a person’s life. However, almost half of the Russian population deny themselves the opportunity to travel, citing personal financial difficulties, with many willing to forego both domestic and foreign trips. The lingering effects of the recent economic crisis, falling incomes and the generally negative economic and geopolitical situation all add to the challenges faced by the tourism industry in Russia. A spate of travel agency bankruptcies and the accompanying media frenzy have served to undermine the public trust in tour operators, decimating the demand for their services. Amongst the measures designed to restore the broken trust is a package of planned and already implemented legislative initiatives, including for the setting up of a register of travel agents, contingency funds, etc.
Tellingly, many Russians are not prepared to spend their money on holidays within Russia, blaming poor services, quality and undeveloped infrastructure.
Among other important trends affecting the tourism industry is the growing popularity of independent travel and development of travel tech. As for the former, there are a number of destinations where self organised tours do make economic sense. In addition, some young mobile technology enthusiasts may actually like the idea of abandoning ready-made solutions in favour of self organised trips. Independent travel has become widely accessible thanks to the explosion in the popularity of specialised services such as meta-search engines. Looking ahead, however, both organised tours and independent travel are likely to be equally attractive for different social groups.