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UK hotels fail to capitalise on growth in Russian tourists

26 November 2013 by
UK hotels fail to capitalise on growth in Russian tourists

The UK hotel market is failing to capitalise on the growth in the Russian outbound travel market, which has doubled since 2005, according to new research published by online booking agent Hotels.com.

While Spain, Italy and France have all expanded their share of the Russian market in the past seven years, the UK has seen its share shrink and now attracts less than 1% of all outbound Russian travellers.

Hotel.com's Russian International Travel Monitor (RITM) said that last year 35.7m Russians tourists (up from 7.7m in 2006) spent £27b on overseas travel, making Russia the fifth largest outbound travel market in the world.

Russia is now the world's second-fastest growing outbound travel market in terms of spend, just behind China.

Travel to the UK has been limited because a separate visa is required for Russians to enter the UK, while they can visit all countries in the Schengen area, including Spain, Italy and France, with a single visa.

Johan Svanstrom, president of Hotels.com, said: "The meteoric rise of Russia's outbound travel market is providing a welcome boost to hoteliers worldwide, with Russians among the highest spenders on hotel rooms globally. The rising size and spending power of middle class Russian travellers is a key driver behind this growth.

"Standing 104m strong today, the group is set to account for 86% of the country's population by 2020"

Almost half of hoteliers surveyed worldwide for RITM have seen a rise in Russian guests in the last year, with 54% of those hoteliers seeing bookings grow by more than 10% or more.

Many hoteliers are now making their properties more welcome to Russian visitors, with 32% of them offering Russian TV channels and more than a 23% hiring Russian speaking staff.

To make sure that Russian guests have a more relaxing stay, 15% of hoteliers plan to offer translated welcome materials, in addition to the 20% that already do so. One in ten hoteliers plan to start serving Russian food.

More than 2,500 hotels worldwide were surveyed for the RITM.

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