Attracting Chinese tourists has become amongst the biggest battle cries in all of travel globally, especially all over Europe. But a somewhat ignored second are the Russian outbound tourists, and they’re having a big effect on the recovery of European tourism economy, according to latest Q3 2013 numbers from European Travel Commission.

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As European tourism experienced a 5 percent year-to-date growth, well above Europe’s long-term trend and close to growth in world’s fastest growing regions, travel demand from Russia persists at high growth levels, turning it into a consistent source of visitors for a growing number of European destinations.

These numbers are helping offset the negative performance of the Netherlands and Italy, two traditionally large source markets challenged by a negative economic climate.

European arrivals from Russia have roughly doubled between 2009 and 2013, taking an increased share of European demand from 3% to 6% of total European arrivals, according to ETC. Growth is now being shared by
several Western European destinations, having previously been skewed more towards
Eastern destinations.

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Russian travel to Greece has been especially strong in 2013 as the fourth consecutive
year of double-digit growth. Travel volumes are now roughly five times larger than in
2009. Russia now comprises almost 9% Greek inbound, up from just 2% in 2009, according to ETC.

Some numbers from ETC, which show the rise of Russian tourists as a global force:

  • 41.1 million tourists traveled from Russia in 2013. Of these, 31.6 million (77.0%) traveled within Europe, while only 9.4 million traveled to destinations outside Europe.
  • Russian tourist arrivals to Northern Europe in 2013 totaled 1.8 million, representing 5.6% of Russian arrivals to Europe.
  • Russian tourist arrivals to Western Europe in 2013 totaled 2.4 million, representing 7.7% of Russian arrivals to Europe.
  • Russian tourist arrivals to Southern Europe in 2013 totaled 8.6 million, representing 27.1% of Russian arrivals to Europe.
  • Russian tourist arrivals to Central/Eastern Europe in 2013 totaled 18.8 million, representing 59.6% of Russian arrivals to Europe.
  • Northern Europe’s share of the Russian market was 4.3% in 2013, a 0.4 percentage point increase from 2003.
  • Western Europe’s share of the Russian market was 6.0% in 2013, a 1.0 percentage point increase from 2003.
  • Southern Europe’s share of the Russian market was 21.8% in 2013, a 3.1 percentage point increase from 2003.
  • Central/Eastern Europe’s share of the Russian market was 51.2% in 2013, a 11.6 percentage point decrease from 2003.
  • International outbound travel from Russia is forecast to grow 6.8% per year on average to 2018.
  • Arrivals to Northern Europe are expected to increase 25.4% through 2018, to 2.2 million. Northern Europe’s share of the Russian market is forecast to fall to 3.9% in 2018.
  • Arrivals to Western Europe are expected to increase 28.3% through 2018, to 3.1 million. Western Europe’s share of the Russian market is forecast to fall to 5.5% in 2018.
  • Arrivals to Southern Europe are expected to increase 50.9% through 2018, to 12.9 million. Southern Europe’s share of the Russian market is forecast to rise to 23.5% in 2018.
  • Arrivals to Central/Eastern Europe are expected to increase 27.5% through 2018, to 24.0 million. Central/Eastern Europe’s share of the Russian market is forecast to fall to 46.4% in 2018.
Tags: russia
Photo Credit: Russian tourists in Paris, France. Gueorgui Tcherednitchenko / Flickr