Tourism for export, or how Russia plans to make money on foreigners

Tourism for export, or how Russia plans to make money on foreigners

The Government of the Russian Federation approved the Strategy for the Development of Export of Services until 2025 and an action plan for its implementation. The analysis of this document gives the first idea of ​​what and how much Russia wants to earn in the field of tourism and what is planned to be done for this in various related industries.

The strategy for the development of export of services until 2025 and the plan of measures for its implementation were approved by order of Dmitry Medvedev dated August 14, 2019 No. 1797-r. The document contains an analysis of the development problems of various industries, including tourism, as well as a rather detailed plan of measures to increase the export of various types of services, with targets.

Inbound tourism includes several chapters of the document and annexes, including services under the article “travel”. Their share in the total volume of Russian exports of services in 2017 amounted to 15.5%, "this is one of the largest deficit positions in the current balance of payments of the Russian Federation, the negative balance of which exceeded 22 billion US dollars in 2017," the document states.

To correct this situation, the Strategy proposes a number of measures both to stimulate inbound tourist flow in quantitative terms, and to stimulate large spending by foreigners in Russia. In general, the emphasis in the document is made on the qualitative and measurable economic effect of inbound tourism.


“Travel services in the target scenario are expected to show near-average growth across all service exports at a CAGR of 7.9 percent and will exceed $ 16.7 billion by 2025 USA, including 7.5 billion US dollars - for business trips and 9.2 billion US dollars - for personal trips, ”the text of the Strategy says.

At the same time, the document deciphered that tourism as such belongs to the category of "personal travel". Based on the quote above, Russia plans to earn US $ 9.2 billion in inbound tourism in 2020. This is a realistic indicator, experts say: while not being a "promoted" or mass destination for foreigners, especially without a segment of beach tourism, Russia cannot yet count on the figures of Turkey (29.5 billion) or Spain (90 billion euros).

The expenses of foreigners on trips to the territory of the Russian Federation remain low. Thus, the average per capita expenses of non-CIS citizens on travel to Russia amounted to USD 393 in 2017. Note that although there is an increase (10%) compared to 2016, this is about the same as on average Russians spend on bank cards only at All Inclusive resorts in Turkey - $ 390 per person. Despite the fact that in Russia foreigners do not have an all-inclusive vacation, this is certainly not enough.

To increase the income from the stay of foreign tourists in Russia, the Strategy provides, firstly, to increase the attraction to the country from "dynamically developing countries with high (growing) per capita incomes." From other points of the document, it can be concluded that to a large extent European states are meant here, although there is no list of priority markets in the document.

It is in order to stimulate the flow of tourists from Western countries that the Strategy proposes “diversification of country markets” and “simplification of procedures for obtaining visas and expanding the possibilities of visa-free stay in the Russian Federation”. This is proposed to be achieved both by concluding bilateral parity agreements with various countries, and by introducing an electronic visa system, using the experience with a FAN ID during the World Championship, as well as expanding the list of cities for 72-hour visa-free stay of foreigners in transit. It is characteristic, however, that in principle there are no visa issues in the “Action Plan” attached to the text of the Strategy for its implementation.

At the same time, orientation towards the West is a "parallel" path: the state does not refuse to further increase the flow of tourists from China. On the contrary, the Strategy provides for "further expansion of the inbound tourist flow from the People's Republic of China with an increase in the saturation and complexity of tourist programs." It is proposed to increase the flow of tourists from China, first of all, by modernizing automobile checkpoints and putting into operation high-speed railways connecting Russia and China. By the way, China is practically the only country with regard to the export of services to which specific measures in various sectors are spelled out and planned in all chapters of the document.

Finally, another measure that should lead to an increase in the expenses of foreigners in Russia, the Action Plan for the implementation of the strategy calls for the expansion of the list of cities in which the tax free system operates (by October 1, 2019, the corresponding amendments to the Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of February 6, 2018 No. 105).

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