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Most Popular 2022 Overseas Destinations for Russian Tourists

Greece a Big Winner as a Popular Destination  

The Ukraine conflict has shifted many supply chains, while EU visa restrictions and issues with Russians being able to access their own money while overseas has resulted in a major shift in Russian outbound tourism this year.

According to the results of a study conducted by Russian travel planning service OneTwoTrip, new destinations have emerged as new favourites for Russian travellers. These include Thessaloniki, Chisinau, and Alanya whose use has skyrocketed in popularity among Russian tourists in 2022 compared to last year.

The northern Greek city of Thessaloniki showed the most noticeable growth: in 2022, the demand for flights there grew by 793%. Next is the Moldovan capital Chisinau, with an increase of 520%, while the Turkish Alanya has an increase of 461%.

Greek destinations filled out the top 5 with the resort beaches of Larnaca, increasing by 387%, and Athens – travel to the Greek capital became more popular by 360% with many of those due to travel on to other Greek island destinations.

Greece is an interesting choice, taking 3 out of the top 5 most popular destinations. It is an Orthodox country with close ties to the Russian Orthodox Church – to whom many Russians turn too in times of domestic stress. The language is based on the Cyrillic alphabet and while not exactly the same as Russian, can be read and pronounced by many Russians. Third, it possesses an interesting history and culture – religion is a draw while Greece’s famous beaches and islands offer relaxing breaks. Greece is also relatively inexpensive compared to other European destinations, as are Moldova and Turkiye.

Elsewhere, demand for flights to Lankaran in Azerbaijan also increased by 290%, The Turkish capital Ankara by 252%, again for likely onward travel to beach resorts and Karshi in Uzbekistan by +212%. Rounding out the top ten are European cities — Zagreb with increases of 179% with tourists heading for Croatia’s famed beaches, and Vienna at 61%.

Also popular were Gyumri in Armenia, Tamchy in Kyrgyzstan, and more familiar destinations such as Warsaw (+155%) Sofia (+152%) New York (+151%) Prague (+149%) Montenegro’s Podgorica (+142%), the Egyptian beach resorts at Sharm el-Sheikh (+133%) and Budapest (+130%).

The Association of Tour Operators of Russia has reported that about 630,000 Russians will travel overseas for this New Year. Having said all this – at the present time, domestic tours within Russia remain the most popular destination.

Source : Russia Briefing