Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/06/2012 -- The Russia Tourism Report examines the long-term prospects for the tourism sector but, in the short term, considers the negative consequences of an economic slowdown in the key source markets. The strong pick-up in growth in 2011 in visitor numbers from major markets (outside the former Soviet Union), including the eurozone, China, Poland and the UK, is expected to slow sharply, halving growth in arrivals to some 5% year-on-year (y-o-y) in 2012. Some recovery, however, is anticipated in 2013. The report analyses official data on the number of foreign visitors to Russia, which showed sharp negative growth in 2009 (after years of low growth) but relative buoyancy in 2011. BMI also considers figures on the departure of Russian citizens abroad, which, aside from 2009's negative growth, have witnessed continual healthy growth rates in recent years.
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Factors constraining potential tourism to Russia also feature heavily, including the threat of terrorism and concerns about Russian flight safety standards. Business opportunities, though, clearly exist in the midmarket accommodation sector, infrastructure development and low-cost airlines.
Preliminary data on the number of foreign visitors to Russia in 2011 show favourable growth of just less than 12% y-o-y - strong acceleration in growth compared with 2010. Three major source markets, Finland, China and Poland, all recorded impressive growth in arrivals, while Germany, the US and the UK, by contrast, recorded relatively low growth. Growth in Russian resident departures accelerated slightly in 2011 to more than 11% y-o-y.
In April 2012 an ATR 72-200 turboprop belonging to UTair carrying 43 people crashed shortly after take-off from Tyumen (in Siberia), en route to Surgut, killing thirty-one people. Federal crash investigators believe that failure to de-ice the aircraft before take-off was the most likely cause of the crash. This once again raises serious concerns about Russian aircraft maintenance, undermining tourism.
Over the last quarter BMI have revised the following forecasts/views:
- BMI has lowered marginally the eurozone economic growth forecast for 2013 - although our Russian tourism forecasts remain unchanged.
- BMI has changed its end-2012 exchange rate forecast for the Russian rouble to RUB29.40/US$, from RUB31.20/US$ previously. The currency is forecast to strengthen in 2013, to RUB28.50/US$. Additionally, over the forecast period further appreciation of the rouble is anticipated, providing headwinds for the tourism sector.
- Although data are for just January and February 2012, growth in international/domestic passenger traffic at Moscow Domodedovo Airport was impressive.
- Russian carriers Aeroflot and Transaero both recorded robust growth in passenger traffic in 2011.
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