NOVO OGARYOVO, January 16. /TASS/. In 2017, Russians made 38 mln tourist trips abroad, which is close to the 2014 level, head of Russia’s Federal Agency for Tourism (Rostourism) Oleg Safonov said at President Vladimir Putin’s meeting with cabinet members.
"Thanks to the growing number of affordable offers, improving economic situation and increasing purchasing power, more Russians have taken to travelling abroad. According to preliminary estimates, outbound tourism traffic grew nearly by 20% in 2017, as 38 mln trips were recorded. And what is more important, the number has almost reached the 2014 level, when 42 mln tourist trips were made," Safonov said.
He added that the number of tourist trips made by Russians nearly doubled in the past 17 years, growing from 21 mln trips in 2000 to 38 mln in 2017. Besides, in Safonov’s words, "despite sanctions and foreign propaganda against our country, we have seen a surge of interest in Russia on the part of foreign tourists." "According to the World Tourism Organization, our country has entered the top five of the most popular tourist destinations based on the number of Internet search requests. Experts say that the tourist inflow to Russia grew by 6-8% in the first half of December," Safonov pointed out.
The Rostourism chief also said that the Federal Security Service (FSB) had recorded a 14% growth in the tourist inflow in the first three quarters of 2017 compared to the same period of 2016. Safonov added that reasons for Russia’s growing popularity among foreign tourists particularly included the possibility of receiving e-visas in the Far East and the introduction of the tax-free system.
At the same time, Safonov said that there had been a significant increase in the domestic tourism traffic. "The domestic tourism traffic is estimated to have grown by three percent in 2017, when more than 56.4 mln trips were made, which is 34% more compared to 2014 and 75% more compared to 2013," he said.
The Rostourism head noted that "during the New Year holiday season, about seven million people made tourist trips around the country," which indicated an average growth of nine percent compared to 2016. Safonov added that apart from traditional destinations such as Moscow, St. Petersburg, the Krasnodar region, Tatarstan and Crimea, tourists had discovered new regions. "In particular, the Murmansk region attracted 35,000 tourists, showing a growth of 10%, while the number of trips to Chechnya increased by 140%," he said. According to him, in 2017, a total of 21.5 mln tourists visited Moscow, while the Krasnodar region attracted 16 mln tourists, 3.5 mln people made tourist trips to St. Petersburg, Tatarstan welcomed 3.1 mln tourists and 5.4 mln people travelled to Crimea for tourism purposes.