Fuelled by its growing middle class and rising spending power, Russia is experiencing a travel boom like never before, according to research by Canadian travel site Hotels.com which has published its Russian International Travel Monitor (RITM).
According to the company, almost half (49%) of hoteliers worldwide 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.
Russia is now the world´s second-fastest growing outbound travel market in terms of spend, up 32% in 2012 and more than doubling since 2005.
The RITM examines how hoteliers are reacting to this rapid growth, which last year saw Russians spend USD 43 bn on travel abroad, making Russia the fifth biggest outbound travel market globally.
In 2012, 35.7m tourists from Russia took a foreign trip, up from just 7.7m in 2006.
The country has become a top performing growth market for many destinations and international outbound travel is forecast to grow by 7.5% per year on average to 2017.
However, with a population of more than 140 m , there is still a huge untapped market for foreign travel that will create demand for different types of holiday and new destinations that are bound to make an impact on the pattern of world tourism.
With 92 % of the hoteliers surveyed by Hotels.com expecting the volume of Russian visitors to increase over the next three years, many are making changes to deliver a warmer welcome.
Almost a third (32 %) of hoteliers have already started to offer Russian TV channels while more than a fifth (23 %) have hired Russian speaking staff, with a further 12 % planning to do so.
Hotels.com (also known in Canada as Hotels.ca) is an online accommodation booking brand.
Find out more at www.hotels.com.