The Moscow International Travel and Tourism Exhibition (MITT), Russia’s largest travel show, returns for its 24th edition on March 14-16, 2017 in Moscow. Up to 28,000 travel industry professionals and more than 1,600 exhibitors are expected to attend and take part.
2017 marks a stronger year for Russian tourism. Passenger traffic through Moscow Vnukovo Airport grew by 49.5 per cent to 1.8 million passengers in January 2017, than compared to the same month last year. Popular destinations included Phuket, Bangkok, Goa, Istanbul, Milan, Larnaca and Dubai.
Dr Alper Özkan, Director of Culture and Tourism, Counsellor’s Office, Turkish Embassy in Moscow, said that both Turkey and the Russian Federation have been taking all necessary steps to reinstate relations to its previous high levels. “Tourism has played a major part in helping improve economic relations,” said Dr Özkan. “Turkish operators are also observing increasing demand. I believe that Turkey misses the Russian tourists and Russian guests miss Turkey.”
A positive indicator for the Russian tourism market is that holidaymakers can now choose Turkey as their top travel destination. In fact, Turkish tourism sector leaders expect over 5 million Russians to visit Turkey this year now that the sanctions have been lifted. Turkey will make up the largest national group at MITT.
This year also marks the “Year of Cultural Tourism” between Spain and Russia. Spain has confirmed to be the “Partner Country” of MITT 2017. This is highly apt considering 1,007,709 Russian tourists visited in 2016 ‐ 2.2 per cent more than compared to 2015, according to the National Statistics Institute of Spain.
Spain was the most popular destination for Russian travelers from January to September 2016. Catalonia, who will host their own stand, is among the most visited destinations.
“The strategy for Turespana in the Russian market is to widen the beach product both on traditional and new coastlines of Spain,” said Luis Boves Martin, Director, Turespana, Russia. “We would like to strengthen our ‘Sun and Beach’ offerings by combining them with more options, such as culture, city breaks, gastronomy, museums, shopping, sports and MICE.”
Other Mediterranean destinations have also seen significant increases in Russian arrivals.
Italy will increase their presence at MITT by 30 per cent, having traditionally been one of the exhibition’s largest national pavilions. In 2015, 481,00 Russian tourists visited Italy and this figure set to increase as operators now look to make the most of Italy’s enormous variety to attract Russian tourists in all price categories.
The tourism boards of Sardinia and Calabria will host their own stands to reflect the fast-growing popularity of both top Italian holiday destinations. The Italian national stand will be at Pavilion 2, Hall 1.
Repeat MITT participant, Cyprus, attracted 787,000 Russian tourists in 2016 – this is a 50 per cent growth.
Eilat (Israel), a popular resort town on the Red Sea, welcomed a fourfold increase of 10,957 Russian tourists over the past year ‐ since their successful participation as MITT’s 2016 “Partner Region.”
MITT welcomes the return of Dominican Republic who have seen their number of Russian arrivals increase by 97.5 per cent to 132,609 visitors in 2016, since their last participation.
Thailand also returns to MITT. 1.09 million Russian tourists visited the country in 2016, marking a 23 per cent year‐on‐year growth from 2015. The Thai Department of Tourism states that Russia is among the fastest growing sources of tourism for the nation.
Japan is another popular Asian destination which has increased their participation at MITT. Luxury tourism is a strong growth sector for Japan as Russia has a sizable middle‐ and upper‐class population.
“We are pleased to announce that the Japanese national stand at MITT has sold out,” said Valentin Shestak, Deputy Director of the London Office, Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO). “Around 54,800 visits from Russia were registered. We hope this figure is set to increase due to the relaxation of visa requirements for Russian citizens which was implemented on 1 January 2017. JNTO has recently opened an office in Moscow to stimulate demand for Japan- bound travel from Russia.”
Domestic tourism is also on the rise with Russian tourists spending $10.47 billion on domestic trips, compared to $5.57 billion spent in 2015. Many regions will be participating at MITT, with the Altai Region officially becoming MITT’s 2017 “Partner Region.”
“The Russian outbound market has definitely picked up in 2016,” said Maria Badakh, International Sales Director, MITT, ITE Group. “We had a lot of interest for MITT from well‐established regions, but also managed to attract new exhibitors, such as Venezuela, Burundi, Palestine and Andhra Pradesh (India). Destinations which are returning to MITT after an absence include Botswana, Jamaica, Kerala (India), Romania and Tanzania – all of whom seek to attract more Russian visitors as the country’s tourism industry strengthens.”