One of the most important changes that travel agencies and ticket services are seeing is a significant reduction in booking depth. People are afraid to plan trips for the future: if before many people thought about a vacation in two or three months, now no one knows what will happen in one. Will the borders be closed, will they be quarantined? Because of this, the Russians began to buy tickets on the eve of departure, so as not to face the return procedure in case of anything.
According to OneTwoTrip, in the fall of 2020, the overwhelming majority of plane tickets (69%) were purchased a maximum of a week before departure, and another 24% of travelers book flights no more than 30 days in advance. That is, only 7% of Russians look further than a month ahead. Last year, the statistics were different: 15% of air tickets for the fall were booked two to three months before departure, 2% - four to six months, and 1% of travelers planned trips six months in advance. Today, this seems to be a fantasy to many.
Despite the pandemic, people still want to travel. And since the borders are closed, the popularity of domestic tourism is growing: according to OneTwoTrip, from July to November 2020, 98% of air tickets were booked within Russia. A year ago, over the same period, this share was 82%.
It seemed that the situation would change in August with the opening of borders with some countries, including Turkey, which is very popular among Russians, but the share of trips abroad increased slightly. At the same time, the demand for travel in Russia is recovering at a rather serious pace: the volume of air tickets sold in the fall of 2020 is almost equal to the year before last, and the number of train trips is 70% of the level of 2019.
In 2021, it is likely that restrictions on travel abroad will gradually begin to be lifted, but we are unlikely to see a significant increase in demand for air tickets compared to 2019. In August, OneTwoTrip conducted a survey, which found that only 23.9% of travelers were happy about the resumption of flights with other countries. Almost 50% of tourists answered that they took this news indifferently, and the rest answered that it was only for the worse.
The most popular summer destinations are Sochi, Krasnodar and Simferopol. The demand for trips to Altai, Kamchatka, Baikal and the Elbrus region has also increased. Most likely, the interest of Russians in domestic tourism will continue this year as well.
The demand for domestic tourism is supported by government measures: in August, the government allocated 15 billion rubles for a program to stimulate domestic tourism, which was developed by Rosturizm. All travelers who bought tours in Russia from August 21 to August 28 could receive a cashback of 15% of the cost of the ticket and hotel accommodation. Later, the program was extended for the purchase period from October 20 to December 5, and the cashback amount was increased to 20%. Moreover, now you can offer cashback not only through travel agencies, but also from aggregators. Today, the average cashback amount is 3600 rubles.
Airlines are also interested in Russians using their services more often, therefore, while the borders are closed, they stimulate the demand for tickets in the country. This can be seen from the prices: the average cost of a flight within Russia with a departure during the New Year holidays this year is 11,600 rubles, which is 15% lower than in the same period last year. In summer, travel in Russia was 20% more profitable (the average cost of a one-way ticket was 5700 rubles), and in autumn - by 22% (4500 rubles for a one-way ticket).
Bleisure (from English business and leisure) is a combination of a business trip and a short rest, when a weekend or a few days of vacation is added to a business trip. Studies show that the popularity of such trips is growing by an average of 20% per year. In Russia, the trend for bleisure appeared last year. According to OneTwoTrip for Business data for January 2020, about 80% of all overseas business trips of Russian companies also took the weekend so that employees could arrange a little rest. The pandemic has stalled the growth of such business travel, but you can be confident that bleisure will gain traction again next year.
An additional factor is the transition of companies to a remote mode of operation. In the spring and summer, many moved to dachas and country houses, and some even went to warmer regions. This led both employees and employers to understand that it is possible to work effectively from anywhere in the world, which means that some will want to maintain this level of freedom.
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