The UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) ranks Russia ninth in the world when it comes to spending on travel abroad.
Outbound trips increased by 17 per cent in 2007, the countries with the highest growth in Russian tourists being Vietnam, Thailand and Austria.
Russia itself is growing as a tourist destination and, with new destinations being announced regularly by airlines such as Austrian Airlines and Turkish Airlines, Russia is developing its tourist infrastructure and opening up to the world. In August, a new programme for tourism development was announced, which will see $1.7 million from the government budget invested into promoting tourism in Russia. A further $6.33 million will be used to promote Russia as a destination for tourists from all over the world.
Ukraine is following in Russia’s footsteps, for its travellers are quickly gaining a reputation for being big spenders. With a population of 48 million and GDP growth of over seven per cent, Ukraine is becoming a desirable market for many destinations. Increasing numbers of Ukrainian residents are taking holidays abroad and many are venturing further afield from the more traditional destinations in Russia’s neighbouring countries. This can be attributed to the increase in charter flights to and from the country and increased competition among destinations promoting themselves in the Ukrainian market.
The Ukrainian government is investing heavily in the tourism market.
Last year 23 million tourists visited Ukraine and this figure is expected to grow significantly as a result of the new investments and UEFA’s decision to host the Euro 2012 football tournament in the country. Hotels are springing up across Ukraine, including those commissioned by global hotel chains, such as Intercontinental, Radisson and Hilton.
International Tourism Trade Fairs Association (ITTFA) member Moscow International Travel and Tourism (MITT) continues to grow and, in 2008, the event covered 11 per cent more space. Among the 118 countries and regions represented at the show, there were many new destinations and MITT’s first ‘partner country’, Turkey presented over 500 companies.
This year, the Ukraine International Travel & Tourism exhibition (UITT) was chosen as the venue for the launch of Ukraine’s Year of Tourism. At the launch,president of Ukraine, Victor Yuschenko said, “Over the last 2 to 3 years, the growth in visits to our country by foreign tourists has been 25 per cent annually, which shows great prospects for our travel industry”. Confidence in the market is growing and a large number of new destinations could be seen at UITT. The exhibition featured 688 exhibitors from 58 countries and regions, and showed an impressive 40 per cent compared to the previous year.
ITTFA represents many travel trade events worldwide. See www.ittfa.org