Maldives set to benefit as Russian tourist spend rises 40 percent

It’s official – Russian tourists are back amongst the big spenders!

A survey of Russian households by market research firm Ipsos Comcon, presented on the first day of Moscow International Exhibition Travel & Tourism (MITT) in Moscow, has shown that total spend by Russians holidaying abroad rose an incredible 40 percent last year, even though the actual number of tourists declined over the same period.

The survey showed that Europe is still responsible for over half (51 percent) of all outbound travel by Russians, with Asia taking 35 percent and Africa (almost exclusively North Africa) 18 percent. All regions across Russia suffered a fall in levels of outbound travel in 2016, but this was compensated for by the increased spend.

According to the survey, as Russia starts to emerge from its economic slump, the key drivers of tourism demand look promising. The Russian rouble has recovered from the disastrous rate of 18 months ago to almost reach 60 to the euro and global oil prices are back at the $50 mark. This in turn has boosted the Russian economy, which is forecasted to come out of recession this year.

This improved situation has, according to the survey, filtered down to the pocket of Russian tourists. Thirty-six percent of Russians surveyed by Ipsos Comcon are now in the income bracket that usually travels. This is a 4 percent rise from 2015, showing a slow and steady recovery in the base of Russian tourism.

This is encouraging news for destinations like Maldives that offer premium or higher-end holidays to Russian travellers, as it shows the top end of the market has survived the recent troubles.

Russia is a major source market for the Maldives’ upmarket tourism industry. Official figures released by the Maldives tourism ministry show that 46,522 Russian tourists visited the Maldives last year. It was a five percent increase over 2015.

This year also looks promising for the Russian market, as the number of Russians who visited the Maldives for their holidays increased 30.4 percent in January to reach 6,874, compared to the 6,874 recorded in January 2016.

Maldives is currently being exhibited in MITT, which is held from Monday to Thursday in Moscow. This year, 42 representatives from 19 companies of the Maldives are promoting the destination in the Maldives Stand. The Maldivian delegation consists of 10 resorts and nine travel agents.

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