MOSCOW, October 27. /TASS/. Advanced reserving of New Year tours to foreign countries has fallen dozens of percent in Russia while St Petersburg, Sochi, Moscow, and Kazan remain the most popular destinations for the holidaymakers during the New Year/Christmas vacations, officials at the Russian State Agency for Tourism told TASS on Monday.
By tradition, the North-Caucasian coast of the Black Sea, Sochi and Crimea stay at the top of customer choices for the New Year.
Tour industry experts say the Russian customers have taken a wait-and-see stance on reserving hotel rooms for the New Year in a hope they will be able to grasp ‘the best possible prices’ yet.
Booking services say a week-long stay at alpine skiing resorts will be some 50% less expensive this year than a similar stay abroad.
On the whole, domestic traveling is expected to rise 15 or so percent by the New Year.
On the face of it, the number of Russians reserving tours abroad in advance has plummeted to 30,000 this year from 150,000 two years ago, Maya Lomidze, the Executive Director of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia told reporters.
"The figure for last year was 50,000 and for this year it is roughly 30,000," she said, adding that the period two years ago was entirely different.
As regards the overseas destinations, Egypt, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates remained the most popular target countries for the Russian holidaymakers.
Lomidze told Kommersant daily the current situation in the sphere of traveling and tourism was too tough.
"There are too many challenges and the marked is stressed," she said. "Companies feel this stress, too, but the situation cannot be called critical, since the lack of economic clarity is the worst situation from the viewpoint of the market."
The increase of prices for hotel rooms during the New Year/Christmas vacations in Russia is expected to be quite moderate - 10% on the average, Ilya Umansky, the chief of the ATOR committee for domestic tours said.