Expotour has become the third tour operator to cease operations in 2014 after the St. Petersburg Neva Company and the Moscow-based Roza Vetrov Mir.
About 20 tourist companies have gone bankrupt in Russia since 2010 when a series of bankruptcies rocked the Russian tourism sector. Their overall debt on unfulfilled commitments (they received money from customers but they have not booked hotel rooms or paid for the fare) varies from 60,000 to 50 million USD. About 100,000 people have suffered in the bankruptcies. About 30 million Russians travel abroad annually, according to various estimates.The Russian tourist market dates back to the 1990s. Approximately the same time, countries of the former Soviet bloc, including the Czech Republic, Hungary and Bulgaria, have introduced measures to attract Russian tourists while Greece and Spain have eased visa regulations for the Russians.
Turkey, Egypt, Greece, Spain, Finland, Germany, Italy and the United Arab Emirates are the most popular tourist destinations for the Russians.
According to the Russian State Committee for Statistics, the number of Russians vacationing abroad increased by 19.3% in 2013. At the same time, a public opinion poll carried out by the Levada center, only 9% of Russians can afford to travel abroad two, three or more times a year. Sixty percent of the Russians have never been beyond the boundaries of the former Soviet Union.
The EU sanctions have significantly reduced the number of Russian tourists in Europe this year. Alla Manilova, the Russian deputy culture minister for tourism, said late in July that separate countries might lose up to 30% of tourists this season. According to the Russian State Committee for Statistics, the number of Russian tourists who travelled abroad in the first quarter of 2014 had dropped by 4% to 3.2 million people since the same period in 2013.