Russia Adopting Measures Towards Reviving Domestic Travel and Tourism

After three years of COVID-19 that shattered the global economy and currently its own ‘special military operation’ in neighbouring Ukraine, Russia is steadfastly exploring measures to recover from the broken down tourism and hospitality industry. Over the past few years, the industry (both inbound and outbound) have slided down and still experiencing diverse low performance. 

The two-way flow of travellers and tourists has dwindled, and many tourism agencies are now looking forward to alluring deals to make for the huge loses. It will, however, have to undergo some strategic reshaping, and largely by adopting new flexible policies. And in practical terms, the government has to play the biggest role here.

Russian Prime Minister, Mikhail Mishustin, has seemingly taken a few steps. During the cabinet meeting specially devoted on ‘developing the tourism and hospitality industry in Russia’ was held in July. 

The summer vacation season is now underway. Like last year, we discussed the situation in the tourism industry. Everyone should have an opportunity to travel, take a break and enjoy all the services offered by modern health resorts and spas. That the federal and regional authorities need to pay serious attention to the quality of tourist services, focus on the safety and health of the public, in all the regions, according to the prime minister.

There are plenty of ideas about the general situation in the tourism industry.  Several business initiatives have yet to implement will interest people and tourists, promote the flow of investment into the regions and help increase the number of jobs – it is very important to create holiday destinations with the potential for development.  

“It is necessary to ensure that people come here have many alternatives for their families and friends that offer local sightseeing, opportunities for self-improvement, study of science and learning of new subjects, and the historical roots of these places. In general, domestic tourism is on the rise. Of course, external factors are playing a role, but it is very important to add that travel within Russia is becoming increasingly attractive,” added Mishustin.

There are more opportunities to see our unique nature and world famous architectural and historical landmarks, visit theatres and museums and in general collect new impressions. This is so because everyone likes to travel around the country. We must make it possible, and most importantly, comfortable and safe. A lot is being done to improve conditions at beach, health-spa and active recreation destinations, including for children and youth tourism, and this is very important, according to Mishustin.

He further underlined that “we must take a comprehensive approach to the development of the entire tourism industry in order to bring the quality of service to a fundamentally new level, taking into account the potential demand that people have for it. It is also necessary to improve transport accessibility and modernise the hotels.”

The demand for building modular hotels is growing, and there are gaining significant popularity. President Vladimir Putin has instructed to increase funding for the creation of these modular structures in the next two years. According to some official estimates, the market for these facilities will grow by about one-third within three years. This construction will continue. 

At the President’s initiative, the government is seriously considering the possibility of expanding this programme with an emphasis on fixing more three-star and four-star hotels. In line with the instructions, there are resolutions to help businesspeople create year-round amusement and aqua parks and develop the infrastructure of ski resorts. This will make it possible to launch large investment projects and – something very important to people – create powerful centres of attraction.

In addition to the urgent measures to improve the industry, the government has also drafted amendments to the legislation which the State Duma adopted early August. Hotels, campgrounds and recreation centres are exempted from local taxes while companies can apply for reimbursement for funds spent, and use the capital to create new tourist products and improve services.

Public Opinion Foundation said in a statement on its website that fifty percent (50%) Russians, believe generally that domestic tourism conditions have improved over the past five years. Such respondents mention good hotel service, development of tourist infrastructure in various regions and transport accessibility, the pollster said. They note high prices on recreation and travel. After it polled 1,500 respondents aged 18 and up in 104 communities in 53 regions of Russia on July 21-23.

Across Russia, large cities and famous resorts are traditional centres of attraction, more and more Russian regions are opening for tourism. This applies to Moscow, St Petersburg, the Krasnodar Territory, the Kaliningrad Region, the Primorye Territory, and Kamchatka. Crimea is in a difficult situation now. There is an increasing demand for trips to the Caucasus, especially Dagestan, and recreation on the Caspian coast. The same is true of Altai. Last year, Altai ranked among ten top popular destinations.

Over 2.5 million people visited the Republic of Altai. Tourism at Lake Baikal is also on the rise in all seasons. Over a million people visit Lake Baikal in the Republic of Buryatia, and there are about two million visits to the Irkutsk Region. Russian government continues working on the development of the domestic tourist industry to let people travel comfortably and with pleasure in their own homeland.

Kester Kenn Klomegah
Kester Kenn Klomegah
MD Africa Editor Kester Kenn Klomegah is an independent researcher and writer on African affairs in the EurAsian region and former Soviet republics. He wrote previously for African Press Agency, African Executive and Inter Press Service. Earlier, he had worked for The Moscow Times, a reputable English newspaper. Klomegah taught part-time at the Moscow Institute of Modern Journalism. He studied international journalism and mass communication, and later spent a year at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. He co-authored a book “AIDS/HIV and Men: Taking Risk or Taking Responsibility” published by the London-based Panos Institute. In 2004 and again in 2009, he won the Golden Word Prize for a series of analytical articles on Russia's economic cooperation with African countries.